Women of Power: Lualhati Bautista and Etta Rosales Join Forces to Discuss Female Empowerment and Literature

What better way to celebrate Women’s Month than listening to two legendary Filipinas discuss womanhood and what women fight for?

In the latest episode of “Tula Somebody,” a podcast series on Philippine literature, author Lualhati Bautista and activist Etta Rosales speak from experience and reflect on poems about the importance of women in society. “Tula Somebody” is a special series by The Linya-Linya Show in partnership with award-winning podcast production company PumaPodcast.

Tula Somebody Lualhati x Etta

“You cannot bring about real change without the woman integral to that purpose in that struggle,” Rosales says, after reading from Bautista’s latest work, the poetry collection “Alitaptap Sa Gabing Madilim.” Rosales’ own life is a testament to this. She fought against the Marcos dictatorship and was a victim of torture under the regime. After democracy was restored, Rosales was instrumental in the class action suit in the Hawaii District Court which held Ferdinand Marcos liable for gross human rights violations, and served as the chairman of the Commission on Human Rights.

“Noong bata pa ako, nakita ko na yung karahasan na ginagawa sa ilang mga babae ng lalaki. Kaya gumawa ako ng pangako sa sarili ko. Hindi ako papayag na ang kahit sinumang lalaki na gamitin ang kanyang kamay sa akin,” she continues. “Dapat maging independyente ako.”

In the podcast, Rosales voices a concern many women have: the pressure to balance motherhood with career, duty, and advocacy. She joined the underground movement in the 1970s, even while she had children to take care of. She shares in the episode, “Habang tumatanda na ako, parang merong naniningil sa akin…na bakit nagkulang ka sa pag-aaruga sa mga anak mo nung maliliit pa sila?”

But she says Bautista’s poem “Kasal” provided the answer to her questions: That everyone’s lives are connected, and that the things she tirelessly fought for were also for her children’s future.

Bautista shares the same sentiments and believes that literature plays a major role in forming social consciousness responsibly—which is why her works, whether novels or poems, portray strong female characters that readers can look up to.

“Nadidismaya [ako] doon sa mga nobela na para sa akin nagpo-propagate ng mga baluktot na kaisipan na minana natin noon pa, pero kailangan na [nating] baguhin. Whether nobela iyan, kwento iyan, sanaysay o kahit module [sa] eskwelahan, dapat nagdadala ng maayos na kaisipan,” she says.

In the podcast, the two icons share their personal stories, struggles, and learnings growing up as women in a male-dominated society. “The Linya-Linya Show” podcast host Ali Sangalang hopes the episode will inspire listeners, especially the youth, to live out the wisdom embedded in our history and our literature.

“Dalawa sa pinakamagigiting at pinakamatatapang na Pilipina—sina Ma’am Lualhati Bautista at Ma’am Etta Rosales—nagsanib-pwersa sa isang special episode ng The Linya-Linya Show at PumaPodcast ngayong Women’s Month,” Sangalang says. “Ang hangad ko lang sa proyektong ito, mapakinggan sila ng mas maraming Pilipino, lalo na ng kabataan. Marami tayong matututuhan sa kanila—hindi lang sa panitikan, kundi maging sa pagiging mabuting mamamayan at mabuting tao.”

Listen to the episode on Spotify.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts.

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