Friday, October 14, 2011

Justice for Given Grace : Freshman Girl's Safety Guide

I got the first message about it from my boyfriend. I don't own a TV. I got confused. I thought it was just one of those end of the semester unfortunate events. Yes, it sounds gruesome but sometimes someone always bites the dust before the end of the semester. Sometimes it makes the papers, others I get a wind off because of the connection I have in the Counseling and Testing Division in UPLB. I was a Gabay after all. Gabay is a volunteer group who cater to the needs of the Freshmen students of UPLB.

But when I heard that it was a rape-murder case I was shocked then appauled then I was suddenly afraid for the girls that I know who are still in the University.

Please join her friends, batchmates and friends in pray and protest. Let's not let our girls fear for their lives. For all the guys who have a sister, orgmate and friend in UPLB, please make sure to man up and do your best to protect them. And for all the Iska in UPLB, do not be afraid but be prepared always.

Let us remember Given Grace Cebanico as she was when she was a student among us. Let us not her death define her life. But let us make sure we are ever vigilant from today. Let us not fall victim. Let us pray for the safety of all students not just those that we know and love. 

For all those who experienced and survived something like these, raise your voice and make sure to extract justice divine or otherwise so that there would be no more of you and Givens in the news, in our memories and in our university. If one is found and caught, others would not fall victim to his crimes.
CONSTANT VIGILANCE: Freshman Girls' Guide to Safety

What you need to add to your Freshman kit or Kikay kit whenever you travel:

1. Pepper Spray or pepper spray like object, get one.

I bought this mint spray (antibacterial too) because I smoke but I take it out when I am walking in the dark street of the metro. When I was in college I didn't think I needed one because UPLB and Laguna in general puts a person in a sense of peace that it is hard to think that crime also happens in the streets of ELBI. But it does. So bring one, they come as keychains nowadays. It's best to have one as your keychain. Talk to your father about it, I am sure he would agree to get you one. 

2. Take a useful P.E.1 class

There are Arnis, Self-Defense and Track and Field classes in the DHE that you can take that would come in handy in the future. Sure it's hard to pass but the things that you would learn there would help A LOT in the future. Believe me, I survived a mugging with only a few bruises because of the random things that my friends who took these classes taught me.

3. Rape Whistle necklace, get one

On my right hand I have my rape whistle whenever I am walking in the streets of Makati. The left hand has my mouthspray (cap open and ready for spraying). Yes, that sound super paranoid but even though I am a tall kinda on the heavy side girl, I know that a man can still overpower me. Sometimes I walk around with my whistle on my neck or already on my lips. This sends a signal to would be criminals that this girl is not someone you mess with. 

4. Travel in pairs or more 

The thing with this idea is that one of you would be able to scream, kick or get help. It's also likely that you would not be targeted since you pose a problem for a would be rapist. He likes to divide people from the herd so be Cattle, travel in hordes. Yes, freshman girl, I am talking to you. 

5. Drink below your limit. 

I was a party-girl in UPLB and I used to mingle with guys who did drugs, were in fraternities, who likes girls waaaaaaaaay too much and I was almost always in a dangerous situation when I was out prowling. (Though I have graduated from that I have learned a lot from the experience. I do not recommend that you do the same learning method I did but it's your life) I was often the sober sister so I know what my friends are like when they are drunk. It was on my last semester that I realized that I could actually pass out and lose all control of my body. My ex was able to carry me up the stairs because I was out. 

Know your drinking limit. Mine is three beers. Or four weng-wengs. After that I either have to throw up or I would need to pass out on my bed. 

Learn your "pampahulas remedy". In my case, I need to throw up no matter what. I don't drink water since it makes me throw up so when I need to I just drink water and wait for the release. * I also dance off the alcohol. It helps me get sober. But for some girls this makes them dizzier, know which one you are. 

UNDERAGE DRINKING: There is a reason why this is illegal. You have to remember that sometimes the people you think you know can also turn on you. Alcohol can make people do things that they would otherwise not do when they are sober. Be careful who you trust. Trust yourself. Don't let peer pressure lead you astray. Believe me it's fun up until the point where you overdid it and you have a hangover or a kid. 

6. Do not engage! Walk away!

I am very guilty of this. When I hear whistling I actually give the guy who did it the evil eye and a snarl for good measure. The best way is to look back to check if there is someone, count how many people are around you or behind you. Then walk faster. You need to get to a crowded area where you are visible to people who are trust-worthy. Example: You need to be able to see a security guard, a policeman or a patrolman. Walk towards them. Then stop. Stay there until that person following you passes. 

7. Don't sit between two men. Travel smart to travel safe.

I learned this from my time in the city. Make sure you are not cornered by two guys or in between them as much as possible. You could get mugged or your baon would be taken from you. Let's not talk about the scary posibility of getting stabbed. 
If you are the only person in the jeepney apart from the driver and some men, be careful. 
Know your routes. Ask the driver as soon as you see that the route is different. Always have load when you are traveling so you can text in case of emergencies. I personally text my mom before I leave even if she's in Batangas. Then I text her as soon as I get to my destination. I am like a spy when I was in college my mom usually texts me this message:


 If I don't reply, I am sure to get at least five missed calls. It hurt my cellphone a lot since the battery drained easily. 

8. Always bring a pin or scissors when you travel. 
I got this from an ex roomate. When she is in a jeep or a crowded transpo she has a safety pin out to make sure no one touches her too close or a precaution for someone who is trying to steal her stuff. I never did it but I always had pins in my bags since I was into theater during that time. I also had a pen knife, but I am just a Batanguenya like that. ^.^ 

9. Be a Comfort Fashionista. 

You have to remember to be fashionable when you are in college. Who knows, you might meet the love of your life while you are there. But you also have to dress for comfort. Make sure that you can run in your outfit in case you need to. And remember that you clothes are not worth your life. 

DOUBLE STANDARD ALERT: Many idiots would come your way and make it appear that it's your fault that they harassed you. You have to remember that although UPLB is a hotpot of culture, you are still in a probinsya. So dress like you think you parents can see you anytime (believe me I got caught in a bad dress mode by some spies of my mom while in school). But remember that although you have to dress responsibly, it's never your fault that the moron who is staring at your legs or cleavage is a damn shit of a pervert. 

10. Speed dial, baby!

This is a trick that was super useful in my life as a college student. My mom's cp number and my dad's cp number where on my speed dial 2 and 3. Who is number one? UPF. Yes, they have a hotline. Alamin nyo na lang kasi nabura ko na. Or the nearest police line of the places you frequent. It also helps to have your bestfriend on speed dial. If you don't know how to assign someone to the speed dial mode on your phone, please get the manual for you cell, it's there. READ and DO.

11. Have a safe word or sentence. 

Make sure you and your bestie or group of friends have a safe word or a three word sentence code. This works when you are in a drinking session to indicate that you are uncomfy or you don't like the guy you are with or that you want to go home in secret. 

Do not make it too common like, "I have to go to the bathroom." but you can change it to "I need to go to the loo." yes same meaning but you have a word that is different. Make sure to lock eyes with your friend or invite her to come along. 

I can't remember what our safe word was. But you can say something like "I need to call my mom." then get your stuff and go outside to "make a call". It's like a fake emergency. Or something like "I need some air."

You can use a weird word that is hard to put in a conversation. Like Hopscotch.

example: I miss playing hopscotch. (works if you are going to say it like you are drunk. I am sure your friend can understand that you are just acting.)

12. Double bolt your door.

My parents were super paranoid. So my dad attached an extra lock on all of the places that I stayed in except for the one that had a gate before you could get in. That door already had the chain lock so he deemed it impenetrable. (which was funny because that apartment was the LUVSHAK apartment and God knows I let a lot of unsavory people into that place, and some really nice ones too of course.)

There was a chain inside too. Like I said, super paranoid. But I never open the door without peeking out of the window first or without the chain. If it's possible, get a peephole with a cover in your door. (Note to future dorm making people)

13. Know your neighbors.

I found this to be super helpful. I knew my landlady and my neighbors to an extent and they knew me. I also studied their comings and goings so I can detect or deduce when something is off. 

Be a good neighbor, that is the key. Don't be a nuisance and greet them often (if they greet you back) so that they would actually care about you, study your comings and goings (ignoring you can be a result of you being a problematic neighbor) and they can watch out for you as well in case something is off. 

People in the LB area are relatively nice. I have many local or townies who are my friends up until now. So it wouldn't be a complete loss if you know someone who can tell you where are the safe or not so safe places to be when it's already late.

14. Fully charged cellphone with long battery power is a must.

Yes, you need to change the phone you are using to a reliable one. If you have financial problems related to that, try to save up faster and get a stable phone. Because you can never tell when you are going to need it. If you can get one with a good camera or video resolution. It might come in handy in the future and not just for camwhoring. 

15. Walk with awareness

In the era of earphones, people are plugged into their music devices all the time. Make sure you have one ear to whatever you are listening to and one ear exposed to the noise around you. Yes, I know it defeats the whole purpose of the earphones but believe me, it comes in handy to be more aware of what is going on around you then being an emo "don't mind me I am in my own world" mode.

Accidents, crimes and bad things happen to good people at times and that is devastating. But always remember to believe that good things also happen to good people not as a reward but to balance out the universe. 

Remember to LOVE yourself enough to protect yourself. And always pray for strength.

And justice 

If you are  UPLB student, alumnus or an Elbizen at heart, change your social network profile picture to this black ribbon. And never forget to be socially relevant.

*as of presstime* Suspects and accomplices were already apprehended. But we can't get her back. That is what gets me.
**Read more news about how the suspects were caught**

Once an Elbizen, always an Elbizen. Don't let our second home be unsafe.


If you have additional tips or hotlines that you want me to put in this entry put it in the comment box.

If you have brothers, sisters or friend in the university, link, share and make them aware!

*other links*

from popular manila
Police nab 1 of two suspects in UPLB student’s rape-slay
Given Grace laid to rest 


  1. dpat sa gumawa nyan sunugin! ay wag muna sunugin, pwedeng tuhugin muna tapos sunugin!

    ay mali... tanggalin muna ng buhay... tapos tuhugin... tapos sunugin.

    tama tama!

  2. master foo: Kaya ako kahit kelan, hindi pwedeng hindi ako maniwala sa impyerno. Pwedeng walang langit pero impyerno dapat meron dahil gusto kong maniwala na me mas matinding parusa sa afterlife for these kind of people.

  3. Love it Pinay! Very informative :) Thankies...


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