My Journey to Myself and to Humanism

Posted by Dwengster | Posted on October 15, 2019

Quezon City, Philippines
October 15, 2019

How does one become a skeptic? Is it a wiring anomaly in the brain as an aftermath of probably being bumped while in the womb or having been physically extricated from it? Awareness of one’s own true self does not come easily for many. Most often, a curious nature is developed to find answers to the myriad of questions that boggle our mind. It did not come easily for me as well.

My journey to my self took a very long and imperfect road to self-discovery about who I am and how I see myself as a part of the microcosm and of the universal expanse. I grew up in a traditional Filipino family. When I say “traditional,” it means that I have a complete set of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins to the first, second, third and whatever degrees. I come from a BIG family. My mom’s side had nine siblings while my dad’s brood comprised five. Traditionally we were raised as devout Catholics going to church every Sunday like clockwork, and serving in the ministry in any capacity we could such as being a member of the choir, being a psalmist, reader, lector, sacristan, or a church volunteer for various parish services. Catechism classes on Saturdays and church activities on Sundays… that was our routine growing up. But as a child, I also fell in love with reading and exploring new ideas from whatever reading material I could get my hands on. I was a regular visitor of the school library and would borrow books even during weekends and in-between holidays. I devoured science books, historical and anthropological magazines, and digest books which featured different people and their various journeys in life and the way they tried to persevere in it.

As part of the junior ministry in our parish, I also became curious of the stories behind what we were reading on the pulpit every Sunday… this during the time that I was also reading about legends and Filipino folklore myths. Mind you, this happened before search engines was a thing. While some people read the bible as a source of wisdom and inspiration, in my appetite for knowledge through reading, I read the bible as a kind of history and anthropology book the same manner I did my other reading materials. Full comprehension of these materials would come later as I did not possess the appropriate maturity to connect everything I read in the past to a more holistic understanding of the world in general.

Growing up as a smart kid was a fact, given that I have always excelled academically thus allowing me to pass in schools considered as top schools in the Philippines. Yet emotionally, something was bothering me. I perceived that I was different in another matter and not just in intellect. Later on, I also realized that I was a part of an often marginalized sector of society… the LGBTQ+. This led me to wonder what else is there about life and how our childhood beliefs should dictate the way we should live our adult lives.

A very common theme in all the stories that I loved to read growing up was about the triumph of good over evil and how the small and weak were able to thwart their oppressors. This is why until now I love underdog stories and have easy affinity for such characters. When I finally accepted myself as a member of my rainbow community, it dawned on me that most of the ugly moments of my life was a product of oppression based on societal impositions created as an aftermath of religious influence… constructs which were indeed marginalizing and dehumanizing to those who were different. I wrestled with acceptance of society and the need to conform versus being loyal to myself and knowing that the church is the true enemy because of its archaic and oppressive ways.

My journey was not yet complete. My yearning to fight injustice led me to activism and became a member of advocacy groups which promoted equality, tolerance, and diversity. Though working for civil society organizations was not a new thing for me. My father was a community leader and a social advocate in our neighborhood so at an early age, he exposed me to social work and in community participation and organization being his staff secretary in some instances. Being out there made me woke to the inequity and injustice… a malady of any society wanting to evolve into a progressive one.

Secular humanism came at an opportune moment when I did not have a clear definition of what I was going through. I had this great yearning for something to be actualized and I did not know how. And as luck would put it, I was connected through my social network to partner in an event with HAPI.

Humanism as an ethical stance puts humanity’s faculties in front and center and not as a means to serve a central power without question or doubt. I know the road ahead is still a long one. But with the current company I have now I have a lot of trust and faith that we would break what years of patrimony and corruption has made.

Other good reads...

Empathy in Humanism

What is sympathy, empathy, altruism in humanism? The English dictionary contains many words that either have the same meaning, almost have the same meanings, opposite in meanings, pronounced the same way but of different meanings, and so forth. Thus we have what we call homonyms, antonyms, heteronyms and synonyms. Today I would like to talk […]

How Humanism Gave Birth To Me

Vitruvian Man X Humanism

Humanism begins with a question I was 8 when I first pondered over the question, “Do cavemen go to hell?” This triggered me to question humans’ knowledge of the beyond, of what lies after we die. My thirst for knowledge led me to go on a philosophical adventure in search for “the truth”. Religion was […]

Meeting Jesus by Andy Uyboco

Atty. Jesus Falcis, HAPI Legal Consultant   Jesus with Andy and other HAPI Core Officers: Danielle, Huemer and Dmitri I had a personal encounter with Jesus in Cebu last weekend, at this wonderful place called Hamerson’s Hotel. I was one of the guest speakers at a leadership meeting and general assembly of Humanist Alliance Philippines, […]

DUYAN: A Love Without Borders

According to Dr. Louie Ocampo, UNAIDS Philippines country director, Philippines has been ranked with the fastest-growing (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) HIV epidemic not only in Asia and the Pacific but in the world based on the UNAIDS 2018 report where it recorded about 13,384 new HIV infections, or a staggering 203% higher than the 4,419 infections […]

SwimBikeRun.PH Challenge

A challenge will not be a challenge unless there is enough difficulty to meet the criteria. When we were invited by SwimBikeRun.PH to be an exhibitor for their July 28, 2019 triathlete event were a bunch of go getters with a mission. That means, we HAPI Central Luzon has to plan and to deliver what […]

Seriously, why are you still a Catholic?

In times when I get into conversations with Catholic friends about the controversies hounding the Church — as a recap, the list goes from Inquisitions to child rape to cultural genocide — they’re quick to denounce the controversies. Over the years, I’ve been told many variations of “As a Catholic, I abhor it.” It’s a […]

The State of HAPI-ness

February 15, 2016 Greetings from NYC, USA! Now that we’ve reached our second year as an organization, it’s a good idea to remember why we do the things we do. Why are we HAPI? Trailblazers First: we are HAPI because we envision ourselves as the trailblazers of secular humanism in the Philippines. This is our […]

About The Author

Dee Bulaclac

An NGO practitioner for almost two decades, Dee Bulaclac is a humanist and equal rights advocate who wants to promote critical thinking skills through education, civilized discussions and having a resolute voice in the darkness. Currently he is also HAPI’s Chief Finance Officer and Brand Specialist.

Scroll to Top