Sunday, August 31, 2008

Images of LILA Pilipina 2002

I spent most of 2002 with the lolas of LILA Pilipina during my Fulbright. I got to, as Barack Obama would say, got to know their stories. That year I spent with them is captured in these images. The photos in this montage show the women of LILA six years ago and most of them are of the protests, rallies and campaigns they have participated in in their fight for justice. They are still waiting for that official apology from the government of Japan. Despite the numerous international resolutions from governments everywhere, Japan has remained reticent. Most of the women in these images have passed on and I can guarantee that they are still fighting for justice, for peace, for women everywhere, but not from here. When you get to know their stories, you see they are simply women, grandmothers, mothers, sisters. They are human. And if you know their stories, you will love them as your own. This year, I am sitting down to write their stories. I have made a promise to the lolas to fight for them in my own way, to educate others about their plight, their stories so that it may not occur again. As they would say, Never again. Their stories carry many wise teachings and from them we come to understand the meaning of war, of self-respect and of love and forgiveness. I share these images with you now, as I am writing, so that you may think of them now in their late eighties and nineties. Still fighting for justice as they are still cooking for their loved ones, still running their households, still dreaming of peace. And if you feel so moved, take a look at the sidebar and write down the address to their new space. Write them a letter. Offer your support. I'm sure they'd love to have you as one of the Friends of Lolas.

PS: The traditional love song "Dahil Sayo" (Because of You) is performed by Charmaine Clamor, Freeman Records. Charmaine is an amazing singer and warrior woman herself. Thanks for letting us use your song, Charmaine!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

FROM THE PHILIPPINE IQUIRER, August 16, 2008: Filipino women seek Japan's apology for WWII rapes

Former Filipino comfort woman Piedad Nobleza, 86, holds slogans during a demonstration outside the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City Friday. Elderly Filipino women and their supporters demanded Tokyo's clear-cut apology and compensation for wartime sexual slavery by Japanese troops. AP/AARON FAVILAAssociated Press
First Posted 17:41:00 08/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Two dozen elderly Filipino women and their supporters protested outside the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City on Friday demanding a clear-cut apology and compensation from Tokyo for wartime sexual slavery.

Japan has acknowledged its troops forced women into front-line brothels across Asia during World War II, and its leaders have apologized.

But last year, many surviving "comfort women" were outraged when then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was no proof the women were coerced, adding to suspicion that right-wing politicians in Japan refuse to face up to wartime atrocities.

The US House of Representatives and the Dutch and Canadian parliaments have passed nonbinding motions urging Tokyo to offer a formal apology, but Japan has refused.

"The Japanese government should publicly apologize and put in history how the women were abducted and forced to serve in the comfort women system," said Rechilda Extremadura, head of a group called Lila-Pilipina that has documented 174 cases of Filipino women who were forced into wartime brothels. About 100 women remain alive.

"This is a war crime," Extremadura said. "But the Japanese government continues to be deaf."

Virginia Villarma, 79, said she was victimized between 1943 and 1944. "We can never forget what they did to us. Until now, it's been a wound in our chest."

The Japanese Embassy in Manila refused to immediately answer a request for comment and asked that questions be e-mailed.

Tokyo has generally refused to pay damages to individuals for the war, saying the issue was settled between governments in postwar treaties. Japanese courts have rejected a number of lawsuits brought by former sex slaves.

The left-wing women's group Gabriela, which joined Friday's protest on the 63rd anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, criticized the Philippine government for not acting on a draft resolution seeking Japan's apology that has been filed in the House of Representatives.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This is How We Do it (Update on the Lolas of LILA)

Party at Lolas’ House

I’ve been in Manila for the last six weeks, contemplating and writing LOLAS’ HOUSE: Women Living with War. I’ve been researching this book now since 1999 and I have over 100 hours of taped interviews. In the book, I focus on 15 of the Lolas – once victims of the Japanese Imperial Army, then survivors and now, in their late eighties and nineties they have blossomed into wise heroines of unimaginable energy.

This year, I did not conduct any interviews. My mission was just to hang with the Lolas, to visit with them and to sing and dance with them. Every year it’s been about digging up the past, but this year, as I think about the shape of this book, as I review and try my best to understand the stories of these women, I decided to give it a rest and to just be with them. Anyway, since I am well aware that every time they reiterate their past, they live it again, I saw no need for it. It was time to party with the Lolas.

When I arrived in June, I visited them after their general meeting and I literally picked up the microphone and looked into the television screen and I sang “Come Together” and “Baby You Can Drive My Car” to the Lolas via videoke. Their response? They danced. They told me I had grown taller. They told me my teeth were so pretty – were they still real?

The Lolas have moved to a new center on Narra Street. It’s a space that several private Japanese citizens who believe they deserve that apology from their government, have helped them to attain. On one side, it’s still Lolas’ House, a place where they can have their gatherings – meetings and parties and sleepovers – on the other side LILA Pilipina has cleared a wide space and organized the materials, stories, photographs and numerous articles and artwork by and for the Lolas. It’s a research institute that will hold the history of the brave women of Liga Ng Mga Lolang Pilipina.

Already, Friends of Lolas in Miami has a stack of their own letters and petitions, photographs and t-shirts that they have donated to the Lolas in the last two years. In the short semester (where we experienced many obstacles), the University of Miami Friends of Lolas chapter was able to raise and donate about $700 to Lolas’ House.

This research institute is the dream of executive Director Rechilda Extremadura and all the supporters and pamana of the Lolas. It will be a way to preserve and document the women’s lives – not just that historic and tragic time during WWII, but their lives as women or as Rechie puts it, characters.

Creating such a place takes time and money, of course. And these days there is not that much of it and there is still so much to be done. The center has yet to establish a working computer/internet system, for example. And the records are kept in filing cabinets left from the daycare center that used to inhabit the space. It costs about thirty U.S. dollars a month to provide Lolas’ House with their daily sustenance.

During my stay, I went with the Lolas to SONA – President Arroyo’s State of the Union Address. 15 of the women along with another 20 or so of their grandchildren and children boarded two very crowded jeepneys and arrived in time to join protestors at the People’s State of the Union stage.

The jeeps were barred from coming all the way down Commonwealth Ave. So we had to step out and walk about a quarter mile to the stage. Of the 15 women, only Lola Pilar’s knees were strong enough to make the walk, so while the women could not be in the crowds, they showed their support at our jeepney base camp. LABAN!

Then on my last Tuesday, we had a despedida party at Lolas’ House and I made two large calderas of chicken adobo, and sautéed petchi. At Lolas’ House the staff cooked pancit and rice while Filipino American students from the Amado V. Hernandez Resource Center’s PEACE Program brought the Lolas sweets, soft drinks and two bottles of wine.

I won’t forget dancing with my lovely Lolas to videoke songs by the Carpenters, the Beatles, and their most favorite, ABBA! They are the ultimate dancing queens, my lolas. The other night, poet Neil Garcia said that I have the best lolas – the best grandmas, and I do. We did not hesitate to dance and sing to one another. We did not hesitate to hold onto each other and give kisses freely. I even shared a shot of wine (though we sipped it) with Lola Pilar.

There was a moment when I was getting the food out while the Lolas and their Fil Am student visitors were singing songs to one another when someone said, “Your turn, Evelina.” So I said, “Okay.” So I grabbed the mic and I thought, what, what? And I sang a family song – one that my father sings to our mom and we sing to our nephews and nieces. It started out as a lullaby – kind of quiet and slow but as I sang they began to clap and so I sped the song up faster and by the second verse of “You Are My Sunshine” the lolas were on their feet, dragging the Fil Am students onto the dance floor and they were all dancing. The whole room.

Rechie is so right. In the ten years I have been visiting the lolas of LILA Pilipina they have transformed themselves from victims to survivors, to heroines to wild and wise characters and counselors.

Everybody raise the roof, raise your glasss to the Lolas!

TO DONATE TO THE SUSTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF LOLAS' HOUSE WRITE SEND CHECKS TO LILA Pilipina, INC. 120 Narra Street, Brgy. Amihan, Quezon City Project 3, Metro Manila Philippines.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Giving Asian Women A Voice: University of Miami A&S Magazine

Click on image to read this article from the University of Miami's Arts and Sciences Magazine, Spring 2008. Laban mga Lola!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lolas Join Global Action for Justice

For Immediate Release
March 5, 2008

Reference: Rechilda Extremadura, Lila Pilipina Executive Director, 0915-5379579
Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA Secretary General, 0917-3221203

The elderly women of Lila Pilipina, organization of former comfort women in the Philippines together with the militant women's group GABRIELA held a picket in front of the Japanese Embassy this morning as part of the Global Action Seeking Justice for Comfort Women.

"None can be a greater tragedy than to be denied justice half a century after being abused and violated," said Rechilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilipina. referring to the elderly women victims of sexual slavery by Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

Extremadura added that while the Japanese government has yet to give justice, they also hold the Philippine government accountable for the continued denial of justice for the elderly women. "Prior to People Power 2, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo promised to take up the issue of Filipino comfort women but she failed to deliver just as she failed to fulfill all her other promises to the people."

"The military abuses borne of the military culture of sexism and violence that drove them to commit sexual violence against women in WW2 continue to this day,” said Emmi de Jesus, secretary general of GABRIELA. De Jesus cited the recent case of sexual assault of a Filipina by a US serviceman stationed in Okinawa, Japan following the rape of a 14-year-old Japanese girl by a US Marine.

“By continuing to turn a blind eye on the violence committed against its women by foreign troops, whether recent or in the past and by perpetuating immense poverty that drives Filipinas into foreign lands, the Philippine government serves as accomplice in the sexual abuse of Filipinas everywhere," added de Jesus.

“For as long as the military of the superpowers deem themselves superior might over sovereign nations and peoples, for as long there are imperialist wars that seek to undermine the independence of a nation for plunder of their resources, peoples will be subjugated and women will be exploited and abused,” added de Jesus.

On March 8 International Women's Day, Lila Pilipina will be joining GABRIELA in the national women's action against Arroyo. “Pres. Arroyo lied to the elderly women of Lila Pilipina and abandoned the cause Filipino comfort women. For this, Lila Pilipina joins the growing number of women wanting her out of Malacañang."

Friday, April 25, 2008


09 April 2008

Reference: Retchilda Extremadura, Executive Director, Lila Pilipina
Lana Linaban, Deputy Secretary General, GABRIELA


Lila Pilipina, organization of former comfort women, expressed apprehension at the recent development regarding House Resolution 124, authored by Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan. The House Resolution, demanding an official apology from the government of Japan regarding the sexual slavery of Filipino women during the Japanese occupation of the country in World War II, is being returned to the House committee on foreign affairs allegedly due to lack of quorum when it was adopted last March 11.

“We believe that the question of process is just an alibi to delay, if not, to overturn the positive decision. As they have done in the past, this is but another attempt to take away a significant gain in the long struggle for justice of Filipino comfort women,” said Retchilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilina.

The women’s group GABRIELA, meanwhile, calls on the members of Congress not to succumb to any pressure coming from the Japanese government. “HR 124 is long overdue. Instead of delaying this, the Congress should be spurred to hasten its implementation. The legislators of USA and Canada have long adopted a similar resolution. It is ironic that such a resolution would meet such encumbrances here in the Philippines, where its citizens were the actual victims,” said Lana Linaban, GABRIELA spokesperson.

Both groups vowed to remain vigilant and enjoins Filipino people to join the lolas in their action should the House Resolution be revoked due to pressures from the Japanese government.

V-Day for the Lolas in NYC

Mga Lola, dearest lolas,

Here are some photographs of the production of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES in NYC. The women are Filipina Women's Network members and they are not professional actors, rather they are professional anti-violence advocates. They put in so many hours and so many weeks to raise awareness about your plight and the plight of surviving Katrina Warriors, women in New Orleans who suffered after Hurricane Katrina washed their lives away with baha.

Remember when Eve Ensler came to visit you, back in 2001? Nandoon din ako. She saw you at Lolas' House in the morning and I came later that day. You told me all about the way she interviewed you about your puki. How you all giggled when she asked you if you had ever had pleasure during intercourse. Of course, that's not exactly how your conversation with her went. I know you've given lots of interviews, but probably none like that. None about sensuality and sexuality and none about discovering the pleasure of the body: kasi lolas kayo, at seguro that's not usually what people want to know from you. They want to know your stories, they want to know what happened during WWII. Rape isn't the same as sex and its the antithesis of love making. But I wonder how often we realize how deep the affect of those rapes during WWII affected your love lives, the way you hold a man, or feel your own body, the way you think about sex at all. Too often we think about the past and are not conscious of what it has done to your present perceptions of your own bodies.

So anyway, that interview, that time she asked Lola Narcisa to explain what happened back then, so we could understand what happens now, in your fight, in your quest for justice and in the bedroom. The audience watched a clip from that film, listened to the giggling and the way you uttered puki. And after that lightness was gone, they got serious when they heard Lola Narcisa explain what happened to you then and what your rallies are about now.

The first time I saw that clip was when we ran the production of VAGINA MONOLOGUES in San Francisco. I was squatting on the stage, looking up at your familiar faces. I saw so many of you -- Lola Urduja, Lola Precilla, Lola Remedios, Lola Cristeta -- so many that I might list here and now -- so many smiling faces, serious faces, living and breathing there in 2001. After the clip, I was so moved because of the some thirty of you on that clip, all but 15 of you are gone. All but a small handful and even that handful has weak members -- in your late 80's and 90's you have good days and bad days -- your bodies give out too often now. Sometimes your minds too.

The audience fell in love with you all -- how could they not -- they were moved by you. And then I told them, many of the women you saw up there -- wala na at walapang justice -- are gone now and no justice, still no justice.

The directors cast me in your monologue, "Say It for the Comfort Women." You know these days, I am asked to speak about your stories and there is no hesitation on my part when I do. So I didn't think anything of it. But at rehearsal, when I read these lines, and I put myself in that woman's voice, her experience, I trembled. I could not get through the manuscript. I cried. I could not get through the manuscript. As close as I am to your stories, I cannot stand in your shoes. No one ever will. I cannot begin to imagine it. But come the night of the performance, I placed a shield around my heart and I took off my shoes and I read your part. I did it. I read it for you. Like the piece says, "Say it for the Comfort Women." No tears, but no shield around the heart either. Impossible.

Anway, the great thing about these productions is that they have chosen you to be one of their beneficiaries, and these great hearts will be sending funds your way soon. Marily Mondejar, president of FWN, was so excited to tell me they had chosen you to benefit from their work. I know you need the help too. I know your funding is dwindling and there is so much to tend to -- the rent at Lolas' House, the food and transportation for the lolas, the electricity and phone -- and that's just for the operation of your space. There is still your campaign for justice, the travels to Japan and other places where you must go, no matter how old or tired, to make your stories known.

Don't worry lolas, we are praying for you. We are here for you. Laban mga lola!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Postcard for the Lolas of LILA Pilipina

Mga Lola,
Kamusta kayo? We are busy doing so many things, trying our best to share with others your stories. Itong litrato -- kita ninyo? This is a picture of the young women from the University of Miami -- many of whom are part of the Yellow Rose Society -- at their Women's History Month event, In Her Shoes. They asked me to tell your stories so they could stand in your shoes and so they could know what you have been through. Of course, nobody can really stand in your shoes for your experiences are too horrific to imagine and KNOW. When we recount them, when we try to imagine them, when we dream of them, it is still too unreal for any of us. Maybe, when you think of that time, you feel the same way. Did that happen? How could anyone -- man or woman, Japanese, American or Filipino do this violence on anyone -- man, woman, Japanese, American, Filipina, Korean, Chinese, Indonesian -- WHOMEVER? How?

Now these young women here, who heard the story of your friend, Urduja Samontes, (oh that lovely character of a woman) were so moved, that next week they are going to host a read-a-thon. I know you are asking yourselves, ano ba yan? Several of the women will get their friends to sponsor them to read one of your testimonies in a public reading. Say one peso per reading, or five pesos per reading. Really dollars, so maybe more like 100 pesos a reading or 500 pesos a reading. And they try to get as many friends as they can to sponsor them. Maybe get 25 sponsors. And if they do one reading that's 100 pesos times 25! We will gather in a public space at the University of Miami -- a place they call the Rock -- and the dalagas will read your testimonies into a microphone -- and your words will reverberate throughout the campus, hitting banyan tree barks, and library walls and reaching for the sky. We will speak your words with the reverence of prayer.

We want to share your lives experiences in order to learn from war. In order to be better warriors who fight for peace, for decency and justice.

We know that your Lolas' House has fewer inhabitants these days, but for those of you who still organize and protest and fight for justice, we know your resources are dwindling. In this way, we are hoping to raise funding for you. So you may continue your fight and we might join you.

I love you all, lolas. And the young women in this photo, who are meeting you through your testimonies and your photos and your experiences with me, they are falling in love with you too.

Mahal na mahal kayo, mga lola!


PS: For the women and men at the University of Miami who are interested in participating in our event, Read it for the "Comfort Women," on Tuesday April 15th, please email Rhea Olegario ( or Elysse Phillips (

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Get Busy for the Lolas

The next few weeks are crazy! I'll be at all the events below, except the SF show on April 5th, but the rest of them? I'm there! Come join me and hear about the Lolas of LILA Pilipina and our struggle for justice! Women's History Month is just winding down, but the activities are non-stop. 10% of the proceeds from the SF and NY productions of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES are going to the lolas, so buy your tickets!

IN HER SHOES: M. Evelina Galang reads from her book in progress, LOLAS' HOUSE: Women Living with War.
Thursday, March 27 8PM Hecht Residential College on the Coral Gables Campus of the University of Miami. This event is co-sponsored by UM Women's History Month, Friends of Lolas and Hecht Residential College

LABAN FOR LOLAS with M. Evelina Galang
Friday March 28th 7PM Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, SF CA 415-399-9580

The Vagina Monologues
March 31, 7pm @ the Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA
April 18, 7pm @ the Philippine Center NY, NY

Usaping Puki
(Tagalog version of The Vagina Monologues)
April 5, 2pm @ the Morgan Auditorium Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA
April 19, 2:30pm @the Philippine CenterNY, NY
Questions? Email or call 415.278.9410

Brandeis Women's Book Club and Luncheon
M. Evelina Galang reads from the Lolas' Testimonies
Wednesday, April 2 @ Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kendall, FL

Saturday, March 1, 2008

One Year Ago Today, He said ...

A year ago today, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the great false statement, "There is not enough evidence to prove coercion." He was referring to the way the Japanese Imperial Army took over 200,000 women and girls during World War II and forced them into "Comfort Stations." He began a revolution of minds a year ago today. He gave us reason, especially those of us who have been in this fight for so long, and for the lolas and other survivors who have been in this fight to get their message into the light their whole lives, he gave us reason to stand up, to speak out and to say, "No, you are wrong."

When I heard his statement, a year ago today, I tried to stay cool. I remember coming out of a faculty meeting and one of my colleagues asked me, "So what are you going to do about it?" I told him not to get me started because if I got started, I would not stop. I got started.

So much has happened in this one year. This blog, which came out of that statement, was born. I addressed Prime Minister Abe then, I asked him to please consider the lives of the women and the fight they are in (to rescue not only their own dignity but to keep the lives of other girls, children and women living in war torn nations safe). So many of us signed the international online petition. And as I stayed awake nights, doing my best to fight this battle from Miami, my friends across the nation were doing the same thing in their home cities. There were activists on the west coast and east coast. There was Annabel Park and Eric Byler in DC. And members of the grassroots 121 Coalition began knocking on doors. In Congress we had Mike Honda and Nancy Pelosi, Eni Falemaovaega and the great late Congressman Tom Lantos, doing their best to educate their colleagues and pass House Resolution 121, a non-binding bill asking Japan to make a formal apology and to take full responsibility for these war crimes against humanity.

I started writing my own Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on a weekly basis. She was the senior ranking member of the House Committee of Foreign Affairs and I desperately needed her to understand the plight of my lolas. When she rose in support of the bill last July and when the rest of Congress joined her and gave the bill a unanimous voice vote, my heart swelled.

I invite you to go through the archives of this blog. You will be amazed at the stories of human spirit and strength. So much evidence.

Japan has yet to apologize. The fight is not over. But there are so many more soldiers fighting this battle with us now. Canada has passed a similar motion. And others have written their own versions of the same plea: please say sorry, please own up to this history that is yours. The Netherlands, the European Parliament, Australia and the Philippines. Prime Minister Abe has stepped down, our dear ambassador of human rights, Congressman Tom Lantos has passed away and many of the women too have been lost in the year, but the truth has emerged. There was reason to say it and there were people willing to hear it; all because of one man's statement a year ago today, "There is not enough evidence to prove coercion."

Thank you, former Prime Minister Abe. Do you like the photo above? That is me and the evidence you were looking for, the survivors of Liga ng mga Lolang Pilipina. We are marching on Women's International Day, March 8 2001.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

FWN'S V-DAY Proceeds To Benefit surviving Filipina "Comfort Women" aka: Mga Lola!

I'll be joining the casts in both NYC and SF as they fight violence against women around the world. 10% of the proceeds will be going to the lolas and this is a good great thing! Thank You, Filipina Women's Network! Below are facts about the production.


Filipina Women's Network

Filipinas Against Violence: V-Day FWN 2008

Making San Francisco and New York City / New Jersey safe places for Filipina women and girls.

An All-Filipina Benefit Production of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and Usaping Puki (in Tagalog)

PREMIERE of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer (new play featuring Filipino men - supporters of Men Against Violence are community leaders)

Filipina Women's Network (FWN) joins V-Day in its global effort to stop violence against women and girls.

What: Filipina women and men coming together in solidarity to dialogue about violence, about the Filipino community's silence and shame about domestic violence,and about ways to break the cycle of violence against Filipina women and girls through performances of Eve Ensler's Obie award-winning The Vagina Monologues, Usaping Puki (Tagalog version) and the new play - A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer.

MEN AGAINST VIOLENCE Workshops: A discussion about masculinity, violence in our communities and how we can be allies with women to end family violence.

- Raise awareness through theatre, popular culture and education about the high incidence of violence in Filipino homes and intimate partner relationships.
- Help Filipina women in abusive relationships take action and seek help.

Why this Campaign Matters: Engaging the Filipino community through theatre and hearing the women's stories in Tagalog "hits home" and helps us understand the broader connections of Filipino values such as respect for women, dignity, family, equality and justice to social and economic issues and to class and religion.

Who: All-Filipino cast members are community leaders, actors, students,professionals, activists, and homemakers.

V-Day FWN Beneficiaries:
V-Day Spotlight 2008: Katrina Warriors - Women of New Orleans & the Gulf South,FWN’s Filipinas Against Violence Campaign, Comfort Women Survivors in the Philippines

V-Day Sponsors: NoVo Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Dramatists Play Service, GLAMOUR, Oprah & Friends Radio (XM), O magazine, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Vosges Haut Chocolat, W Hotels, New Orleans

V-Day FWN Sponsor: AsianWeek Foundation

About A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer -
A groundbreaking collection of monologues by world-renowned authors and playwrights, edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle. These diverse voices have come together in a collective roar contributing original pieces and bringing their particular vision, talent and take on violence against women and girls - to break open, expose, and examine the insidiousness of violence at all levels: brutality, neglect, a punch, even a put-down.


Until the Violence Stops (film screening) - Friday, March 28, 7pm
The Vagina Monologues - Monday, March 31, 7pm (all-Filipina cast)
Usaping Puki - Saturday, April 5, 2:30pm (all-Filipina cast)
A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer - (two shows) Friday, April 4, 7pm
and Saturday, April 5, 7pm (all-Filipino women and men cast)

March 28 film screening and April 5 shows:
Morgan Auditorium, Academy of Art University, 491 Post St. @ Mason St. San Francisco
Tickets: $5 (students)- $50 (VIP); call

March 31 and April 4 shows - Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Tickets: $20 (students)- $100 (VIP) or call 415.392.4400

NEW YORK: Philippine Center New York, 556 Fifth Avenue @ 45th St., New York
Tickets: $20 (students) - $100 (VIP) Call 917.720.7268
or go to

Sponsorships, Advertising & Community Partnerships:
Call 415.278.9410 (SF) or email

San Francisco Director Team:
Senior Directors: Elena Mangahas and Ken Marquis
Assistant Directors: Genevieve Jopanda, May Nazareno, Esperanza Catubig

New York Director Team:
Christina Baal and Theresa Tantay-Wilson
Executive Producer: Marily Mondejar
Producer: Kai Delen Briones

About the Filipina Women's Network: A non- profit association for women of Philippine ancestry. The Filipina Women's Network's mission is to enhance public perceptions of Filipina women's capacities to lead, change biases against Filipina women's leadership abilities and promote the entry of Filipina women into positions of leadership in all sectors.

About V-Day: A global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a
catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.

What are The Vagina Monologues?
Based on interviews with over 200 women about their memories and experiences of sexuality, The Vagina Monologues (Usaping Puki) give voice to women's deepest fears, guaranteeing that no one who watches the show will ever look at a woman's body, or think of sex, in quite the same way again. It is a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery. In this stunning phenomenon that has swept the world, Eve Ensler gives us real women's stories of intimacy, vulnerability, and self- discovery.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Friends of Lolas at the University of Miami

At the University of Miami, a group of students have joined me in supporting LILA Pilipina through our own chapter of Friends of Lolas. We're holding an informational meeting next Thursday, February 28th 8PM at Hecht Residential College on the Coral Gables campus. Below is their call to action. For more information you can find their group listed on facebook. Read on!

This group, now FRIENDS OF LOLAS, emerged from Laban for the Lolas after the H.R. 121 passed in July 2007.

F.Y.I.: "Lola" means grandmother in Tagalog, the Filipino language.

- To raise public awareness on the issue of women and children in war through the testimonies and experiences of surviving WWII "comfort women"
- To befriend and support surviving Filipina "comfort women" at Lila Pilipina (an organization of survivors now in their 80's and 90's).
- To launch fundraising initiatives to support these women.

- During WWII the Japanese Imperial Army abducted over 200,000 girls and women from nations like Korea, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines and subjected them to military rape and enslavement.
- Over 1,000 women were Filipinas and 173 have publicly come forward.
- During the Spring 2007, Prime Minister Abe stated not enough evidence to prove coercion, and Laban for the Lolas -- now Friends of Lolas -- lobbied to pass House Resolution 121. H.R. 121 urged the Japanese government to apologize and take full responsibility of these war crimes.
-On July 30, 2007, H.R. 121 passed.
-The Japanese government has yet to respond.

This group supports Surviving Comfort Women of WWII and asks Japan (through the US Congress House Resolution 121) to take full responsibility for the pain and suffering of 200,000 young women and girls abducted and forced to serve in military sex camps.

Let's honor the women -- Comfort Women, abused women, our mothers and sisters, ourselves. Let us honor all women by taking a stand and letting the world know abduction of women, systematic rape and sexual slavery is unacceptable and inhumane behavior.


We are inviting UM students, organizations, and faculty to host one month of activities.

Each month, we would like an organization to sponsor these Lolas and fundraise for their community center which helps them with everyday needs, like food, transportation and the upkeep of LOLAS' HOUSE, their community center.

Organizations/ student groups would:
- do one fundraising activity of their choice, such as bake sales.
- host one event or forum that raises awareness to the Miami community about the "Comfort Women" issue.
- create a "care package" that highlights the activities that would be sent overseas to the Lolas.

Other Notes:
We can't stress how this cause is a timely issue. These grandmothers are getting very old and their memory is slowly getting worse. These women are looking for support and any little act of kindness helps and means the world to them.

Please feel free to contact for further questions or concerns.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Congressman Tom Lantos

What an honor to have heard Congressman Lantos speak,to have met him and know his hands supported House Res. 121, the non-binding "Comfort Women" bill requesting Japan make a formal apology and assume full responsibility for those crimes against humanity. House Res. 121 was just one of the many struggles in his fight for human rights. In July, I sat in the galleys and heard him speak so eloquently about the plight of over 200,000 women and girls throughout Asia. His words brought tears to my eyes. He really understood the plight of surviving “Comfort Women” on so many levels — his own experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust gave him the kind of wisdom and power to fight for all of humanity — and I am very grateful for his work. I hope to continue the fight for human rights, for the lolas, knowing he was on their side, knowing he supports this call for justice. His commitment to human rights was truly the work of a great heart.

Peace always,
M. Evelina Galang
advocate of Liga Ng Mga Lolang Pilipina
Friend of the Lolas