My Journey to Myself and to Humanism

Posted by ADMIN01 | 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...

The Balangaw Project: Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community through Education

The Balangaw Project : Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community through Education by Glemir Sordilla Bacolod City, Philippines April 5, 2019   The Balangaw Project: Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community through Education is a series of continuous talks that the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International Jr (HAPI Jr) in partnership with the Supreme Student Government of Bata National High […]

The Church won’t bless same-sex union. So what? | OPINION

The Church won’t bless same-sex union. So what? By Joshua VillalobosHAPI Scholar On March 15, 2021, Pope Francis of the Catholic Church announced that the Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions since they cannot “bless sin”. This statement of the “progressive” Pope made it to various leading news outlets garnering different reactions and […]

HAPI Old School Program – Sorsogon Chapter

HAPI Old School Program made possible by Sorsogon Chapter. The aim to empower children was made possible through the success of HAPI Sorsogon Chapter’s Project- HAPI Old School Program. It was done on the fourth, ninth and eighteenth day of July pursuing the projects’ objective of teaching children with old school skills. Given the different […]

HAPI – Feeding sa Riles ng Alabang, Muntinlupa

Maaga akong gumising upang magluto ng 15 kilos na spaghetti at 20 pcs whole fried chicken, nakahanda na rin ang 200 loot bags at 200 tetra pack juices. Dahil sa araw na ito ay ipagdidiwang naming ang Thanksgiving sa pamamagitan nang HAPI Feeding kasama ang isang napakabuting mag sing irog na sina Will Davidson at […]

HAPI wins ‘Humanism at Work’ Award

Foundation Beyond Belief, a non-profit charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanistic generosity, gave out an award, and announced the winners of their Heart of Humanism Awards on November 21, 2017, through their website. The awards recognized the outstanding community service of local groups who are part of the Beyond Belief Network program, and […]

HAPI partners with Muntinlupa City to bring ‘Family NutriTalk’

HAPI CFO Dwengster Bulaclac with nutritionists/dietitians from Muntinlupa City Health Office

Dubbed as ‘Family NutriTalk’, the Kids Nutrition Campaign of Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) upgraded its advocacy of proper child nutrition on March 24, 2018, Saturday at 10AM. HAPI Metro Manila Chapter was able to bring public health practitioners to its foster community on Ilaya Street of Barangay Alabang, in partnership with the Muntinlupa City […]

Existential Angst and Depression : Meaning and the Satisfying Life by Will Davidson, LMHC

This November 26, 2016 from 1:00 – 7:00 pm at the Pearl Manila Hotel located in Taft-UN Avenue, Manila city, Will Davidson, MA, LMHC, will be conducting a lecture on “Existential Angst and Depression : Meaning and the Satisfying Life”. According to him, ‘one of the criticisms of Atheism is that a life without belief […]

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