Marawi youths raise fund for war victims in Aleppo

More than a thousand Muslim youths coming from the cities of Marawi City, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro joined in the Aleppo fund-raising and awareness campaign activity held in Dimaporo Gymnasium in Mindanao State University (MSU) Marawi Campus on December 18.

The fund-raising activity was sparked by o…

Has Marawi Changed in 2016?

This holiday, I went home to Marawi to see my grandmother who I have missed as I have been living in Iligan for half a year already. Although I go to Marawi every now and then to cover events, I haven't stayed there overnight for quite a long time. Over the weekend, I had a chance to experienc…

My Jihad is Better than Yours (Meranao Millenials 3)

I am Fatima, 17, a freshman in Mindanao State University. I study BS Biology. My parents want a doctor in the family. I would have studied Islamic Studies if I had my way. This dunya is temporary, what we really have to prepare for is the hereafter.

I am on the way to Cagayan de Oro City, as I write…

'Mom and Other Loonies in the Family' Opens Cine Europa in Cagayan de Oro

I was in the City of Golden Friendship--Cagayan de Oro--last weekend to attend the opening night of Cine Europa in Rodelsa Hall, Liceo de Cagayan University. The cinephile in me could not resist the invitation.

This year's installment of Cine Europa was graced by Ambassador-Designate József Bencze of Hungary. It is just fitting as the movie that opened the film fest was ‘Anyám és más futóbolondok a családból’ or ‘Mom and Other Loonies in the Family’, a Hungarian film about a family of four generations of “loonies” as narrated by a mother who has lived 94 years and has moved 27 times during her lifespan.

Daddy's Girl Turned Web Activist (Meranao Millennials 2)

I am a social media activist. I am overprotected, I am a princess, I cannot take my activism to the streets. So I fill my social media feed with videos and links of everything the Muslim world is fighting for. I use the hashtags #PrayForSyria, #PrayForPalestine, #ProudMuslim,etc. I make sure everyone knows I am a religious girl. Mufti Menk, Nouman Khan, and Yasmin Mogahed are regular features on my social media activities. But one thing I cannot even touch: corruption in my homeland.

Meranao Millennials 2

MSU Feels

Traveling is Life (Meranao Millennials 1)

Travel is life

I am in Singapore right now, cramped with three of my friends in a cheap hotel in the less glamorous part of the city. When I saw the sponsored ad on Facebook about cheap travel package to Malaysia and Singapore, I convinced my friends to grab the offer. I told them, this trip is going to be Instagram-able.

The Questionnaire from The It Room

Copy-pasted my answers on Zwen Dee's The Questionnaire with his permission, of course. The It Room is a Facebook group of stylish like-minded people. I am honored to be featured in their The Questionnaire Series. I reposted it here because I had so much fun answering.
1. What is your idea of hap…

I am Having a Bad Week

I am not feeling myself this week. It has been very stressful for me to be juggling so many things at the same time. I underwent a medical exam in Cagayan de Oro last week and I had a fainting spell when the staff drew blood from me. I went home nauseated but endured the long hours of land travel just to attend my cousin Sheng's wedding to Juff. I barely made it. Glad to see Ate Nafs again after like a decade. My day ended at 10pm that day.

Thus my well-being suffered throughout the week because I was physically exhausted. And that cause many backlogs in my schedule that I am trying but with no success as of the moment. I am pretty hard on myself in these instances when I could not deliver what is expected of me. I find myself bursting into tears when the strings are pulled too taught.

Style Diary: Cobalt and Comfort

When I started blogging around 2010, I was heavily influenced by fashion bloggers. I used to post OOTD photos but stopped altogether when the blogging world was saturated with OOTDs. But I kind of miss taking outfit shots and documenting how my style has evolved. Thus this post. 
Top: Uniqlo P…

On Duterte's 100 Days

I haven't updated my blog in a long time. Having a new job and moving to a new city takes time to get used to. But I am itching to update my blog thus this.

The very basic question that needs to be answered is: May nagbago ba?

Do You Help in Doing Household Chores?

Growing up, I didn't particularly listened to my mother when she tried to inculcate in me the importance of being able to do household chores. I'd pick procrastinating every time. However I was forced to learn the basics--sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, doing my laundry, and making my bed. We never had a household help. We tried employing one but it proved more of a hassle. Nevertheless, I learned despite my protests.

Dear Future Love

Dear future love,

Know that I have been praying for you. Know that I am optimistic that I will find you.

Links I Love Vol. 1 (Millenials, Cercei, etc.)

Some days we end up surfing and clicking links without giving it much thought that we end up seeing strange things on the internet and reading tons of things without really learning anything of importance. Below are links to articles that I find interesting and worth reading. They are not click baits, I promise you.

1. How technology disrupted the truth

Happy Eidl Fitr!

Greeting you all a Happy Eidl Fitr! Eid is that time of the year when we are both happy and sad--happy to celebrate a big day and sad that the holy month of Ramadhan has finally made an exit. I don't really have much to say today, just blogging quickly to wish everyone happiness, prosperity, an…

Are We in the New Era of Marawi?

Last June 30, Marawi City inaugurated its new mayor, Atty. Majul Usman Gandamra, and Lanao del Sur Governor Bombit Adiong turned over the seat to his mother Bae Bedjoria Alonto Adiong while he himself took over the vice-gubernatorial seat.

These are some thoughts that are playing in my head:

Life Lately: Ramadhan Struggles and Delights

It's a quarter before eight in the morning, I just woke up and the first thing I want to do is do the thing that I haven't done in the past few weeks--write a blog post. I wasn't very much visible on the internet lately because so many things IRL-related has come up.

Although I initially intended to write my sentiments concerning President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's lashing at the media, right now I am ambivalent thus I am writing something way off the original plan. My second thoughts are preventing me to form a single coherent opinion on Digong.

NUJP: 'It’s about the culture of impunity in our country!'

Dear President-elect Rodrigo Duterte,

That was quite a mouthful you unleashed on media Thursday night. We do appreciate your reminder that, yes, we journalists are not a uniformly lily-white breed, in fact none of us are, although we would not go so far as to consider ourselves in the same line of work as publicists, for theirs is a totally different field as you yourself pointed out.

Let's Make Marawi Clean and Green

Basura prolem has always plagued Marawi City for as long as I can remember. For two decades, it seems that Marawi is bound to be known as Marumi City for all time. There was this one time when I was hopping around tourism sites and one mentioned having visited Marawi City and commented that Marawi has no grip over its solid waste management. What a shame! It's like having someone visit your home and upon leaving gossips that your house is filthy. We have to do something. Really.

My Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time

I always gets asked for books recommendation by friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. I thought, why don't I put together a post about my top ten books so I can have an easy-to-retrieve-from-memory answer to that question.

To tell you frankly, this is not an easy post, I will have to rack my brains and try to remember all the books I read. FUN FACT: I started reading novels at 10 years old. Thank you Mark Twain for your Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer for teaching me early on the fun that is READING.

For parents who want to raise adults who read, let them start early. Choose books for them that are suitable for their age. Noli Me Tangere and The Fourth K by Mario Puzo at grade five is a little too much, speaking form experience. I remember staring into space remembering Maria Clara and Crisostomo Ibarra with rage against the Espanyol taking root in my heart. Assassination of the Pope and the President of United States is not a good idea either. Mario Puzo traumatized me. At grade five, I was introduced into the world of conspiracy theories.

Circling back to the objective, the following are my top 10 books of all time based on two criteria-- cool factor and the number of times I read them:

If I could Tell Duterte, Bombit, Gandamra, and other Politicians a Thing or Two

Adiong Lanao del Sur Politics

Anything But Love

The basement was dank and humid. It smelled like a laundry hamper. A single incandescent hangs at the center of the small space, blinking and buzzing inaudibly. I sat at the corner, my face powder now completely erased by sweat, feeling self-conscious with my outfit. I felt stupid for wearing a lea…

2016 Elections: More "Fun" in Lanao del Sur

I have always known that here in Lanao del Sur, we do elections differently. Any journalist will have a field day covering because of the stories that are uniquely Meranao. Let me list down the things that make our elections so much more "fun" if not the most "fun" in the Philippines. 

Leni: Moro's Protest Vote Against Marcos

Leni, famous for being the Robredo widow, with only one term as a congresswoman under her belt seems to be the best choice according to many Meranaos I've talked to. Between Bongbong Marcos, son of the dictator, and Cayetano, with his infamous Muslims are terrorists line, or Chiz with his pan de sal metaphor, As ARMM Regional Vice-Governor said, Leni is our protest vote against those who oppressed the Bangsamoro.

The Art of Writing Letters

Call me romantic, call me old-school. But in the age of digital communication, I still write letters on stationery I made myself out of scrap-booking materials and old magazines. 

Communication these days is so easy and convenient that we take it for granted. Saying I miss you takes no effort when you can text it in 10 seconds. Why wait for a letter to arrive in the mailbox of the one you love when you can e-mail the or DM them in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

13 Things I Hate About Marawi City

The fact that I can come up wih more than ten on this list says that my beloved city is a big boiling pot of mess. Don't get me wrong, Marawi will always be home to me, but there are things about it that I wish were not there.

1. Drugs

Beat the Political Heat this Summer 2016

Ice Cream on a Summer Day

The summer of 2016 in the Philippines will be extra hot. For several months now, most of the country grew bone dry from El Nino. Rain has been evading us for a little too long. (However it has been raining consistently in Lanao del Sur for two weeks already. Alhamdulillah! Did you know that last month all the aleems in Marawi congregated in JMM to pray for rain?) In some parts of the Philippines, the heat index goes as high as more than 40 decrees Celsius. Even Baguio experiences elevated temperatures. Not only is it hot under the sun, everyone's head is hot as well as the Elections grow nearer. I have read of Facebook statuses of some friends claiming to have been unfriended or to have unfriended some in their friends list due to differences in political affiliations.

Here are my recommendations for staying cool this summer:

Youtube-Hosted Adsense for Blogger: How I Got Approved

When starting a blog, one of the concerns is how do we make the hobby become sustainable? Some of us pay for domains and hosting. Add the hours spent on writing content; if there is no way for the blog to earn a little, it will become counter-intuitive.

Good thing there are companies that offer to p…

Blogging with My Own Top-Level Domain

I am happy to announce that after two months of painstakingly building this blog, I now have a top-level domain of my own. Previously, the url of this blog is, it's quite a mouthful. Now, I am blogging at Yey! It is a dream come true.

I wan…

Elections in the Time of Facebook

Never will an election be as much influenced by social media as this year's national and local synchronized elections. With around 47 million Filipino Facebook users as of 2015, it is safe to say that the rise of the influence of internet and social media to the Filipino voters is rising and is gaining relevance as much as traditional media like television, radio, and print media.

Moreover, Philippines is one of the countries that are leading in terms of social media penetration. While the global social media penetration average is at 31%, Philippines' rose from 40% in 2015 to 47% in 2016, according to

It was also found out that the Filipinos spend the most time in social networking sites compared to other nationalities. We spend a whooping 3.7 hours a day browsing through our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. I suspect I spend double that time as I am online most of my waking hours.

Prior to the elections, perhaps the PR people were busy drafting strategies to build up their candidates. However, I am under the impression that they underestimated to power of social media that some candidates are crowned online while others are crucified.

The Letter That I Couldn't Mail

"Iphoon man ko paganay
na dakun mailay
oba adun a ranon ka sa ginawa ko a rasay

Somiyarig ako ruka
na bako dun miakasana,
ko mga katharo ka na
da nga bo panomana.

Da bata dun di makasabar sa rata ginawa ruka."

Perhaps this will be the last letter I will ever write for you. We have reached an impasse and there is nothing left to be said that can possibly turn the situation around.

Glimpses in Black and White

Mar Roxas in a meet-and-greet in Iligan City. One word: lukewarm.
Pupils in MSU-ILS waiting for the arrival of US Ambassador and party.

Sittie Ayeesha Dicali Blogs Here

[caption id="attachment_5" align="aligncenter" width="364"] Visit my main blog![/caption]

I am claiming this Wordpress address for future use when I upgrade my blog Stories from the South.

Platforms of Grace and Chiz for the Moros, Meron Ba?

Sen. Chiz Escudero speaking in MSU Marawi

April 6, 2016 marks the visit of vice-presidential candidate Sen. Chiz Escudero and his senatoriable Edu Manzano to the provinces of Lanao. We caught him in his speaking engagement  in Mindanao State University and here's what we learned from Muslim Movement for Genuine Change (MMGC also Muslim Movement for Grace and Chiz):

The Wao-Maguing Dream Road is Now Passable

The Wao-Maguing Dream Road is Now Passable

The municipalities of Wao and Amai Manabilang are peculiar because they are part of the province of Lanao del Sur, however, to go there from the province mainland, one has to endure eight hours of drive from Lanao del Sur mainland passing through Lanao del Norte, Iligan City, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. It's like going to another province.

Online Shopping with Lazada When You Live in the Province

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, just an honest-to-goodness relaying of my experience in shopping with Lazada.

Whenever there's a product in an online shop that I just have to buy or else I'm going to feel sad about it for the next weeks, I end up the latter because I live in the pr…

Campaign Posters 101: Diba Bawal Yan?

Campaign Posters in Marawi

As the elections grow closer, new campaign posters are posted everywhere, literally everywhere. But did you know that there is a rule where posters are allowed and where they are prohibited?

The candidates are allowed to put up campaign materials in designated as common poster areas like:
  1. Plazas 
  2. Markets
  3. Barangay centers 
  4. and the like where posters may be readily seen or read, with the heaviest pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic in the city or municipality.

The Music of My Youth

One of the signs that tells me that I am no longer, you know.. young, is that whenever I listen to the radio, I don't know the song playing half of the time. Gone are the days when a song plays and the world stops for a few minutes because damn, that's song is my jam!

This morning I tried to…

Dear 16 Year Old Ayee

 Dear MeDear Me,

At 16, you probably are feeling lost and insecure. You haven't quite figured out who you are and who you want to be. You were stereotyped as the nerd. You were misunderstood, they thought you are too smart for normal people. And so you had limited friends. But be thankful, those few friends of yours will stand by you through heaven and hell. You will witness each other fall in and out of love, get married, achieve dreams, and have babies. You had a few, but they turned out to be just right for you. You can't possibly handle a bigger number of friend, because even in adulthood, you will be a ambivert. You will learn the art of socializing but will find the greatest pleasure in your own company.

At 16, your self-esteem is at its all-time low. You haven't quite bounced back from the bullying you incurred from them, a whole section of your seniors ganged up on you on your first year in high school. That's not exactly a good was to start your adolescent years. But it's okay. Because you stood firm against them. And although you still do not understand why you were bullied in the first place, I am telling you that I am proud of you. Because 11 years later, you are a 27 year old woman who stand up against bullies, no matter who they are, no matter how small they make you feel.

9 Meranao Wonder Women Who Heavily Influenced Me

Wonder Woman
This list is more important to me than the list about crush-able men. Because this women helped shape my consciousness. Some of them I have known for years and some I have come to know more recently. Nevertheless, they have gained my admiration through their unique personality, intellect, grace, and beauty.

Before you my lovely readers react and message me about this and that who should make it to my list, let me tell you that I don't know every amazing Meranao woman out there. Those listed here I know personally. I am not posting photos of them, you know, cultural sensitivity. And I believe that Meranao women, so many of them are physically striking, but their character stands out even without them flaunting their beauty. They wear invisible crowns wherever they go.

1. Samira Gutoc-Tomawis