STC Cebu and the bikini girls – a laughably pointless situation comedy

In a country where the “word” and “will” of the Roman Catholic God are popular buzzwords and points of deference that transcend profession and social and economic class, it has always been one of modern societies’ biggest ironies that gigantic billboards exhibiting scantily clad models pitching skin whiteners, body sprays colognes, and mobile devices stand as ubiquitous features in most of its cities. Despite virtually every Filipino predisposed to wistfully invoking “God’s plan” for their fortunes when uncertainty looms or a moment of self-doubt strikes, we find hordes of adolescent Filipinos sporting — and expressing over social networks — senses of entitlement to the latest branded gear and gadget that would make most marketing professional salivate.

There is nothing inherently wrong with showing a bit of skin (or, for that matter, even all of it) or wanting the latest thing (or for that matter, everything). But Roman Catholic dogma is quite clear on where it stands with sexual permissiveness and materialism. It does not tolerate either. Yet what can be readily observed in contemporary Philippine society is pretty much the antithesis of everything Catholic.

In relatively crime-free and exquisitely-disciplined Japan, nobody seems to have a problem with bikini-clad girls.

The trouble is, Filipinos make a big show of being “good” Catholics. The Philippines is renowned for its authentic crucifixions during the Easter season, is known for its Churches bursting at the seams with people every Sunday, is abuzz with loud talk about attending simbang gabi night masses during the Christmas season, and celebrates champion boxers who kneel in prayer before their God before a bout so that may be granted the strength to beat the living daylights out of their opponent in the ring.

What then can we make of the brouhaha over the bikini-clad girls of the good Catholic school of Saint Theresa’s College (STC) of Cebu City? For allegedly posting photos of themselves wearing bikinis, these girls were barred from attending their graduation rights. For allegedly downloading these pictures and making them public, their parents sued the school. And for allegedly being “bad parents” the school sued the parents.

Holy situation comedy Batman!

If anyone who’s been watching bemused as this drama makes lucrative television news fodder hasn’t noticed yet, the Philippines is already a failed Christianic state. Much of what ails the Philippines today and makes its people hopelessly ungovernable is an outcome of a convolutedly tangled up moral fabric that centuries of Roman Catholic “guidance” delivered by celibate clerics seemed to have not ironed out. As Charlene and Stevie Wonder once sang…

The kids are wild we just can’t tame ’em
Do we have the right to blame them;
We fed them all our indecisions
We wrecked their minds with television.

The real issue is quite clear — at least to those who use their heads instead of their prayer beads.

And yet the elders of a 79-year-old Catholic institution of learning and the parents of these kids and their lawyers stand locked in a laughably pointless but escalating legal battle. To an outsider who routinely regards the overarching moral and ethical wasteland that is Philippine society from a high vantage point, this little peacock pageant merely entertains.

The fact is, Philippine society runs on a cultural framework that has already overspilled the old Tradition-Religion Complex that guides managers of schools like the STC and is rapidly spreading in an unstructured manner – in other words chaotically (which is why we find so much difficulty making heads or tails of these cultural issues). To the typical Filipino philandering male for example, there is no conflict between his regular church attendance and the harem of mistresses he maintains. He absolutely loves and adores his religion and complies faithfully with its dogma but at the same time he is aware of the reality of the moral ambiguousness of the society to which he belongs.

To this day in the Philippines the topic of sex, when raised, will most likely elicit snickers, jokes, and blushes in most Filipino adults or expressions of indignation and disgust. That its discussion is often suppressed and at the same time made the object of childish giggles shows just how uncomfortable most Filipinos are with a biological process that is otherwise practiced so liberally.

In her article “Between Sensationalism and Censure” (Philippine Journalism Review, April 2002, pages 35-37), Diana Mendoza observed how the bizarreness of Filipinos’ regard for sexuality is reflected in Philippine cinema. Her observations are gleaned from among others, comments made by sociology professor Michael Tan of the University of the Philippines in the Sixth International congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific held in Melbourne, Australia from the 5th to the 10th October 2001:

Commenting if the Philippines could be at the forefront of education on sex and sexuality Tan said no, because “media have very sensational coverage but they still have this patina of moralism which is strange.” He said this brims over to the film industry that churns out movies carrying the “crime and punishment” theme — for instance, movies with pots of adultery that run steamy sex scenes but which towards the end, mandate that the adulterer, who is always the female, gets shot or imprisoned.

“With these endings, movies become a morality play after two hours of titillation,” he said.

Furthermore:

Tan said Filipino movies also carry the “crime and redemption” theme, in which a sex worker eventually realizes there is a better life outside prostitution, but only after the audience [have] been treated to several sexual episodes.

This is the sort of environment Filipino kids like the STC bikini girls grow up in today. Indeed, we do not have the right to blame them. And that is why the lawyers have been unleashed by both STC Cebu and the girls’ parents. There is only one another — their parents, and their schools — to blame.

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55 Comments on “STC Cebu and the bikini girls – a laughably pointless situation comedy”

  1. Eh, how can this vicious cycle ever end when the brainwashed violently opposes anyone who questions their faith?

    They are ready to wage war to defend it, so it’ll take some kind of army to become the on-coming train to their tunnel-vision.

    I pray that the case goes against the Holy Stooges of STC.

    Oh, wait…that won’t help.

  2. With the show on being good catholic, I have nothing to argue; but on your belief that there’s nothing wrong with bikini-clad STC students, here’s the point: it makes a big difference if the person who’s wearing bikini while holding cigarette and doing public display of affection is a MINOR. This is the real problem with our society nowadays. People tend to be so tolerant of such acts just so one can say he/she’s not pretending to be clean. There’s a right time and place for these things, dude. Care to know the details first before hitting on the critics of these students.

    1. Since when has ‘affection’ become a dirty word? Tsk tsk. And just because said affection is ‘displayed’ in ‘public’ does not necessarily make anyone compelled to view it.

      Hirap talaga sa Pinoy mahilig tumunganga e. Overseas you can tell someone is Pinoy straightway when he or she performs that uniquely Pinoy telltale stare or second look.

      It’s the look of the judgmental.

      1. I didn’t say anything wrong about PDA. What’s disturbing is they’re MINORS, ok? Tsk tsk tsk! Sana iniintndi mo nang maigi.

    2. Dude, care to accept the fact that not everyone’s belief systems are the same.

      Learn it.
      Know it.
      Live it.

      Maybe then you’ll think twice about shoving your beliefs down other people’s throats the next time.

      ..but i doubt it.

      1. How is benign0 shoving his beliefs down anyone’s throats? This is merely a blog and if you don’t like what’s being said here, don’t read it. And he’s right, the Roman Catholic religion has done more damage to the Philippines than good. How is it that the Cardinal can claim that he is holy but you don’t even see him reaching out to the poor Catholics genuflecting on the streets of Manila?

        Yup, not all belief systems are the same, I would also argue that not all belief systems are equal. Some are worse than the others. I wouldn’t want to be under a belief system that prohibits me from having freedom of speech.

        1. Fyi, I wasn’t addressing my comments to Benigno.

          Your comments are right and i agree with you for the most part, but take a deeper look and see who i was replying to, ok?

          After that, put some eye drops.

        2. I apologize, but there was no need for the insult. I didn’t attack you personally.

        3. Well, yes. That last line was a Don-Rickles-attempt at your expense, so it was an error of judgement on my part.

      2. I’m not attacking other people’s beliefs here. I’m just pointing out that IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE if the person who’s wearing bikini while HOLDING CIGARETTE and doing PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION is a MINOR.

        1. So its only okay if and when the person wearing a bikini , smoking a cigarette is an adult.

          Sorry, but I never heard so much crap in my life before.

          Then if she was bright she wouldnt upload that picture to her Facebook but just kept it on her computer’s hard disk.

          And what – for crying out loud – is wrong with PDA? Does one need to have a legit age for PDA?
          I was told PDA is not accepted in the Philippines regardless of age.

    3. What is wrong with a bunch of beautiful women wearing clothing that suits them taken in a beach and photographed? If that photo was taken in the streets of Cubao, Ayala Avenue and or Intramuros or inside a church Catholic man o Born Again now then there is something wrong.

      What is wrong is the school administration, mali ginawa nila, since the girls was not inside school premises anyway.

  3. Most european countries have tolerated other acts which may be considered worse to others. They’re not doing too bad compared to us.

  4. The Catholic Church moral teachers should concentrate on their Priest Phedophiles; and Priest, who keep mistresses, or hires prostitutes. The girls in bikini, are just having fun on the beach…what would you do; go to swim on the ocean, with your full clothes on? Your morality will not save you, from drowning…I had heard in some Catholic schools; that nuns were teaching girls, to take a bath, with their clothes on, also…this is where religion has gone crazy. Look at the crazy world we live in , because of religions. Suicide Bombers; religious cult suicides; religious fanatics on Jihad(Holy War); Jihadist killing innocent people to go to heaven, with 72 virgins reward…

  5. Here are my 0.02 cents to this issue.

    If the school wins this trial then what is next? Can you get fired by your employer for what you do in Facebook and/or MySpace or what you type here on GRP while you – as employee – are maybe even the best among your collegues? During your application-procedure will the prospect employer first check all your social networks before hiring you or not?
    As long as one does not commit offenses (doing things against national laws) then Facebook should be a place where individual freedom should be guaranteed (regardless of one’s privacy settings).

    As far as I know (by reading about it) the pics were taken during private time and not during school activities. So school laws and regulations should not apply during one’s own private space and time.

    It seems, it now becomes THE question which “laws” transcends/surpasses/exceeds which. Is it the school laws/rules/regulations that exceeds national/government laww or…..

    If and when the school wins then its a carte blanche for every institution/body/company to start a “Big brother is watching you”-campaign.

    1. “the pics were taken during private time and not during school activities.”

      Yeah, and why did it get to the school authorities? It’s not their right to butt in with that if it’s an outside the school thing.

      1. I really dont know how the school was informed about the pic(s). Maybe one the girls’ classmates buzzed it; maybe the school has a department or person who do checks like that. Anyway, I would not be surprised if the girl’s future is in taters now bec of all the media hype about the incident. Not only as for any future employment but maybe also for any future next school (College, University) who may refuse her/them as student. So this incident may have far reaching consequences. Hopefully it wont get that far for the girls.

        1. Isn’t that the lousy truth. Media just ruined their lives in their brainless quest for “truth”. sometimes, there’s no telling who’s the dumber: the nuns, or the journalists.

        2. Hmm, if what the girls did was slutty then the school should administer the same punishment to all their staffs who have similar photographs on FB/Instagram/etcs… The rule should apply to all not just to students. Siguro the panel had such fatty asses that they can’t post their own photos that would get them fired for having ugly bodies and faces.

      2. Its called Social Media. If the account is not set to private (like anything on the net is private anymore) then someone will find it if one is looking for it, especially if they are diligent and adequately skillful.

    2. It’s a dangerous mix: the voyeuristic and pakialamero (meddling) predisposition of a Pinoy plus the archaic view of the Philippine Roman Catholic Church that it alone is the absolute authority on morality. What you get is a medieval institution struggling to keep its relevance with the times. They wake up (or haven’t, for that matter) so many years down the road, they expect everything to stay the same, and they’re shocked that it’s not. Then they blame the world for their lack of adjustment. Pathetic, really.

  6. It is always a big deal to the malisyosong-phuntang CBCP aka GCB-Good Christian Bastards na talagang moron.

  7. If the RCC is crying foul to over-sexualism and promotion of vices, they’re 3 decades too late, it’s there now, better start actual re-moralization campaigns instead of wasting time on 5 kids and their parents.

  8. The kids are wild we just can’t tame ‘em
    Do we have the right to blame them;
    We fed them all our indecisions
    We wrecked their minds with television.

    Garbage in, garbage out. Philippine media plays a big role with how the next generation view morality. Even with cable TV, the masses would still prefer to watch (with their kids)this annoying, morning shows, noontime shows, telenovelas, and primetime shows of the local netowrk giants. These networks are literally feeding the viewers garbage on a daily basis.

  9. If the priests and nuns did their jobs right, there won’t be crime at least among Catholics; there would be no need to pull that Black Nazarene around; and there would be no lame crucifictions/flagellations anywhere in the Philippines. Bikinis should be the least of their problems. But the focus goes to the bikinis anyway. Hence, no need for me to go to mass. I’m tired of their focus on the petty.

    1. That’s the real point that seems to escape top Catholic honchos; that the slide of the Church into irrelevance and the seeming lack of genuine and sincere spiritual engagement among Catholic Filipinos (at a quality to match their outward but superficial compliance to ritual and tradition) to their Church is an indictment of the medieval approach to the “guidance” provided by these men in robes.

    2. Really now so I guess sir it would be fair for anyone to call upon you TO JOIN THE PRIESTHOOD!!! And implement what you preach. Have you actually done your research regarding the fact that by the year fewer men joins the flock. Or are you just pointing a finger at the church because you want the readers to join your church?

      If only out of say 10000 people at least 1 joins then we would have a lot of priest preaching pero hindi, as opposed to the volume of pastors who won’t submit to the call for celibacy kasi lahat gusto o ayaw magjakol nalang.

      Very unfair post, before you cast the stones your holding look in the mirror first baka dapat sa sarili mo muna ibato yan.

  10. @Don,

    Although I think the media wanted to expose the ridicule/absurdness of the school’s agenda, it might back fire despite the good intentions of the media.

    1. Most normal media would actually say “This is absurd”. But Philippine media is different: it is sensationalist and immature. Instead of saying “The Catholics are Absurd in Acting Like Crazy Over a Few Photos”, Philippine media is “BIKINI TEENAGERS! HAVE A PEEK BEFORE THE SCHOOL EXPELS THEM!”

      1. Most dutch quality newspapers would maybe not even publish this story; on the other hand the dutch tabloids probably would publish it. But then again this whole charade (barred from graduation rites bec of pics in Facebook) would never happen in my country.

        As far as I know the UK tabloids (Daily Mail c.s.) are the worst, maybe followed by the German tabloids (Bild Zeitung).

        1. Robert,

          No, in your country they would not be barred from graduation, because by default they will be in jail. They were minors and the pictures showed that they were drinking and smoking. The “bikini” wasn’t the issue. Hope you guys get your facts straight. Thank you.

  11. So what is wrong with young females wearing bikini beach attire? Nothing. Evil or good is in the eye of the beholder. The eyes of the hypocrites, malicious, self-righteous and fanatics judge them as guilty. I see nothing immoral or indecent in posing for pictures in swim attire. Perhaps the so-called teachers and officials of STC should take a long hard look at their “standards”. I say this to them. Judge and ye shall be judged. Yes… I have seen pictures of nuns and priests in swim attire.

      1. What is therefore wrong are the pervs — not the young females wearing bikinis. The world is a better place when girls in bikinis — not pervs — abound. 😉

        1. Never saw anything wrong with the photo. Its actually artistic and really gives anyone something to talk about. Good work girls specially the photographer nice shot!

    1. It’s as wrong as foreigners making out in a remote part of boracay during the wee hours of the morning, prompting a local channel to broadcast it on primetime news while preaching about decency and morality.

      1. I clearly remember an episode from the comic strip Baltic and Company from the old days:

        Miss Tapia: Tignan mo yung mama doon, ang bastos. Naliligo nang nakabukas ang bintana. (“Look at that rude man over there, taking a shower with the window wide open”)

        Tom: Saan? Wala naman akong nakikita… (“Where? I don’t see him…”)

        Miss Tapia, pointing to a stool: Kelangan mong tumuntong sa upuang ito.. (“You need to stand on this stool to see him”)

        nyek nyek

        1. Reminds me of blurred Kat ha li li scandal with matching url of a porn site below the video.

    2. what is wrong is that people are too ignorant to know why exactly did the school prohibit the kids to attend their graduation rites. you, sir, are in need of better resources to base your opinions. any person who has been to stc or knows stc is aware of the rules. the students who happen to be minors did not just break the rules, they just dropped their dignity during the time they wore the bikinis by doing inappropriate acts and presenting themselves in facebook like wild animals (which is something against the teachings of the school). so, it is therefore the right of the school to correct these mistakes by giving the students disciplinary acts. yep, stc does have standards and these standards have brought about intelligent and dignified women in society. sadly, many ignorant people who wouldn’t care to seek the truth in these issues are posting all over the internet like wild fire.

  12. I had enough of this lame-ass non-diocesan priests who operate schools.The inquisition was made as a matter of Political Expediency to save the Old World from Islamic and Mongol overtures on the continent’s borders coz the latter are threats but girls wearing a bikini?Ohhh sheesh.Hardly a threat to World Peace.I remembered when I was in HS…I studied in a Jeswit (J Society+Bwesit) academy…then being a fan of Alternative and Grunge music…I cranked the volume of my headset then a priest berated me openly for listening to such Devil’s Music.What I did?I took it off and let the music play and gave a nasty look.Stood there with arms crossed.Defiance to Da Pinoy System!Defiance to the Non-Diocesan Catholic Overlordship!Yeah baby!!!!!!

    1. it’s a shame to see guys like you pushing off the issue like it’s no big deal. didn’t your mom teach you anything about self-dignity? if you are well-informed (which, obviously are not), you would know that the kids in bikinis were not just in bikinis but far worse; something anyone who can see them describe as wild and disgusting, especially to minors. pls read the news thoroughly before voicing out your opinion. (your issue with the priest doesn’t have to generalize everything else involving catholic institutions. ) as they say, opinions are better said when they are based with facts. so, hope you post responsibly next time.

  13. This issue is not about changing standards of morals, yada yada yada, but is, well, similar to the more recent Thrilla in NAIA, about the subsociety nouveau riche trying the things of the upper class but at the end of the day, just couldn’t play by the rules. STC is a well known school for Cebu’s elite, producing some of the most respectable women on that side of the country.

  14. I am a theresian and that policy has been there for years. It was not just about the bikinis it was the alcohol and the cigarettes and the bar that they were in. They were not supposed to be there because they were minors. The administration tried to straighten up these wrong doings but the parents sue them instead. Does that mean they tolerate their 16 year olds drinking and smoking habits. Well i guess the world has changed then.

  15. benigno, writing and publishing this simply shows how ignorant you are. it has been said a long time ago that pictures of these kids in bikinis were coupled with inappropriate acts such as drinking,smoking and who knows what. the media mislead the readers by saying that the kids were just wearing bikinis, which immediately sparked all the ignorant reactions like yours. moreover, what they did was against the rules stated in the school’s handbook signed by the students themselves as an agreement that they will abide by them. unfortunately, they broke the rules and sued the school for their own fault. FYI, thousands of theresians have posted their bikini photos in social media even before the issue, and they didn’t cause headlines simply because they were not acting like fucked up bitches. so the next time you waste your time posting your opinion that can influence others to think as shallow as you, know the facts first.

      1. benign0,
        Listen to what’s being said: the girls were minors and they were smoking and drinking in the picture. They did not get in trouble for wearing bikinis. They got in trouble for posting their pictures in their underwear and for smoking and drinking.

  16. You have a point about all this drama over Facebook pictures being funny. It really is! But then I read the comments and felt it necessary (sarcastic tone there) to add my 2 cents.
    On the 1st week of school, like most schools, all students are given the handbook to go over and sign along with their parents. It contains all the rules and possible consequences for breaking them etc. Much like the CEO or board member to be unfairly kicked out of the company for illicit behavior during their private time, the students with their parents consent, gave the school the authority to do that. According to the rules, their misconduct could’ve have them expelled. They practically given just a slap on the wrist with their grades intact and an STC diploma.
    For the parents this was unfair, so they sue the school. They could have sued the school for making up rules that violate their daughters basic human rights, but they sue them for violation of privacy. Targeting the computer teacher who had no access to said pictures in the first place. They had a better chance of having “justice served” if they sued their daughter’s classmate for showing the teacher the pictures.
    Intention-wise, the school was defending their principles (though a bit outdated). And the parents (for me) just made it personal.
    But what I really wanted to say Sir writer of blog, was that I agree with you and Stevie Wonder, we can’t blame the kids

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