University of the Philippines Cebu Women’s Month Opening

The Psychology Volunteers on Bikes represented by Core Group members Monica Gloria Manluluyo and Edna Lee joined the opening ceremony of the Women’s Month Celebration of the University of the Phiilppines Cebu. Monica was one of the guest speakers, and  She spoke on the biking as a tool for empowering women and challenged the women and the UP administrator to fight for their right to mobility, health, a gender egalitarian society and mitigate climate change thru the bike as an embarrassingly simple solution to the convergence of biological, psychological and social crises.

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University of the Philippines Cebu Women’s Month Opening Celebration Speech

Good afternoon. I am Monica Gloria Manluluyo, a second year BA Psychology student and a representative of the Psychology Volunteers on Bikes.

We, the Psychology Volunteers on Bikes, are an all women environmental and cultural conservation group that advocates for a livable, sustainable and egalitarian (Haruhay, Malungtaron ug Maangayon) community by engaging in a consciousness change that is both regenerative and transformative, applying the ethics of care: caring for the people, the planet and the future. We use the bike as our weapon of choice, and since it’s Women’s Month, I would like to share with you how biking is a tool to enlighten, empower and engage women for the people, planet and future.

Enlighten. We have the same rights as men, and we, all 46 million of us in the Philippines should know that under international law, our rights are not much different from that of a man’s. In fact, as of 2009, in the enacting of the Magna Carta of Women, the Philippines already had 27 laws concerning women’s rights. And today, we have 37.

Empower. We just don’t stop at knowing that we have rights. Of course, we have to act on them too. The time for talk is over – and it is our duty to our selves and to our sisters not to settle for words alone but to go out there and do something.

Engage. For every 101 men, there are 100 women, and in the 92 million people in the Philippines, 49.6% are women. By those numbers alone, we can say that we are a force to be reckoned with. We are a critical mass to deal with, and that is reason enough for us to walk the talk.

Ana sila, ang babae daw mag sige ra’g lingcod, luto, hugas sa plato ug limpyo sa balay.With biking, not only will our calorie-counting and weight-watching sisters have to worry less about what they’re eating, but the beauty-conscious ones will also get the much needed exercise that they need to look younger and sleep better. It is also a surefire way to get rid of the stress lines that most of us accumulate from all our daily routines.

Ana sila, ang babae daw depressed. Fickle-minded, so dili daghan ug mahuman. Well, psychologically, biking triggers the release of natural feel-good endorphins. As a result, the more you bike the happier you become, it also improves creativity and interpersonal performance, which result to fewer breaks and a shorter time to finish tasks. Furthermore, it results to more motivation and capability in managing stress.

Ana sila, ang babae daw sa balay ra kutob. No. Biking is a great way to bond with the family and influence children to exercise that sport when they’re all grown up and independent. It also encourages people to befriend each other, as bikers have so much common ground even if they are complete strangers when they first meet. Also, a study from Harvard Medical School found that that people with more friends cut off the risk of an early death by 60%.

Aside from the health benefits we get from biking, it also helps mitigate climate change by lowering our carbon footprints. With more bikers on the streets, the amount of pollution we all inhale will be lessened, and I know all of us have tried being stuck in traffic for hours, breathing in the stench of black soot.

We don’t have to start big right away. A tree does not grow big the moment it is planted. All trees start from small seeds. Here in the University, we can encourage biking through setting up bike parking – which does not even have to be very expensive. Our school is a very bikable space, and as an urban green lung, it is so much better. It has been done in other countries – Netherlands, Denmark, the whole of Europe. It is not impossible for us to do the same.

Let us not remain behind the locked doors of theories, debate, discussion and talk. I challenge the women in this campus – the professors, the students, the workers, the pageant winners – I challenge you to exercise your right to physical health, to emotional well-being, to mobility, to climate change mitigation; I challenge the Dean and the administration to provide bike infrastructures. And I challenge the organizations, the Student Council and the political parties in this University, especially since tomorrow will be the elections, I challenge you to do something to make our campus sustainable – not in mere theoretical discussions and verbal promises kay wala man tay ma ani anang puro yawyaw,but in climate change mitigating activities that will contribute to the change that is gripping our planet.

All of us here today can do an embarrassingly simple solution on climate change. We can change the world. Let us be the change and turn Cebu into a sustainable and gender-egalitarian city like Copenhagen, Gronigen, Bogota, Curitiba and Vancouver among others. Let us start the change in our selves. Let us start in UP Cebu.