This exceeds our initial plan to have no more than 50 participants. But when we visited Ateneo, we found out that the venue can hold up to 100 people!
But for comfort, we’re capping registration at 80, so there are still 39 seats left, not counting the Maybes. Walk-ins are welcome. But if you’d like to reserve a seat and some food you can still do so by registering here.
I’ll be posting a map here soon. See you on Saturday!
Thinking about the theme, “Freethinkers in an Unfree World,” and reflecting
on your own freethought journey. In the forum, you can share the stories you
remember and the solutions that have worked for you, as well ask about
alternatives to problems you are still facing.
Discussing some of these issues on the mailing list or forum.
Spreading the word about the forum to freethinking friends who might be
interested. You can send them here.
Thank you very much, and hope to see you next Saturday!
The last meetup wasn’t all fun and games. The food was great, too (thanks again to our cooks, Tania and Tin).
But seriously, we did do some planning for the Filipino Freethinkers Forum 2 (FFF2). Here’s what we have so far:
Somewhere in UP — (Pecier, any updates?)
McDonald’s Party Place — Danny’s idea, he’ll ask about it
Popular Bookstore — despite its popularity only Geri and Wella knew about the place
Somewhere in Ateneo — Tin is following up with some friends
AIC Gold Tower Penthouse in Ortigas — accessible place with plenty of space
We decided to have one main theme per quarter, so for the next two forums we’re using the FFFF theme, Practical Freethinking. This time we’re focusing on relationships:
Private — at home and in love
Public — in school and at work
The central questions:
What is it like to be a freethinker in an unfreethinking world?
What are the different ways of adapting to (or changing) these challenging situations?
Members share obstacles they have overcome (or have overcome them), the battles they are still fighting, and the fears they know they’ll one day have to face.
The group will then frame the problem, abstracting themes and providing an overall context of the situation.
Members share and discuss the wide spectrum of alternative actions and possible solutions, from inaction to moderation to militancy.
Participants may make calls to action — individual or group — that may be discussed during the forum or after.
Date and Time:
These details will depend on the availability of the venue. For now, the FFF2 will be held either on March 28, Saturday, or March 29, Sunday, between lunch and dinner, any time between 1PM and 6PM. We’re still discussing the duration.
We’re working overtime to make this work as the forum is only two weeks away. Subscribe via email or rss; or join the mailing list or forum for announcements.
Till then, you may think of what you could share with the other participants on the FFF2:
Stories you’d like to tell.
Questions you’d like to ask.
Advice you’d like to give.
Thank you very much and I look forward to seeing all of you on the forum!
To everyone attending this forum, congratulations and thank you for being willing to publicly express your atheism. It’s never an easy thing to do and the fact that you’re doing it with a group of other people will help others join you in the process. If I can offer any advice it would be this: Don’t lose sight of your mission. You may not get very far trying to convince people God may not exist. However, you could be a safe home for atheists who are afraid to come out and may not know anyone else who thinks the way they do. Make yourselves known and be compassionate toward anyone who seeks you out (and even challenges you). Do as much good as you can and show people that atheists are just as honest and charitable as any religious group. Don’t fight over labels (atheist, Humanist, etc). Keep in mind that you’re here to help others, discuss atheism, and be proud of what you (don’t) believe in. Many people don’t have the guts to face reality, but you’re doing it. I thank you personally for that, and I’m sure many other Americans feel the same way!
Prudence was late but glad to hear Dr. Claudio speak:
But I’m very glad that I’ve been able to hear Dr. Sylvia Claudio’s talk on freethought and politics and the RH bill. I didn’t know that she was one of those who’ve been working so hard so that the bill may get the chance to be passed in congress. And I quite envy her that she grew up in a family that is not particularly religious (which actually left me wondering what would have happened to me if I were in such a situation). I think maybe we could have another forum specifically for the RH bill and how we, as freethinkers and ordinary citizens, can help get the bill passed.
While Dr. Claudio was glad to speak and felt like she’d come home:
So this group, just being there–I did not care if I was the older-one-flowing-over-at the-mouth. I was home again, in a group of 60 or so people I had just met.
What is more, I am happy with how these young people are using the internet to fight their struggles. I am elated to find people who are a natural constituency for the RH bill. I am thrilled at the thought that one does not have to come from my socialist background to care about the rights of people.I am over-the-moon at seeing their committment to reaching out to the marginalized. I am overjoyed that they are committed to a better country (and world).
I really learned a lot from the forum, and I think its a good start.
As what one of the speakers said, it had been a “kid in a candy store” moment for me too. There are so many things in my head that I would like to have someone explain to me, share with me and I found out that there are others like me too.
And bigenya summed it all up nicely. Really, her(?) recap is the most complete I’ve seen so far. I can’t pick a quote — bigenya’s summary resists summary — so I’ll just end this post with her ending:
Finally, Red told us about the daydreams of cat herders. I cannot think of a better way to put it. Our Freethinkers have successful herded the strays. And Red is right, “the best cat food is community.”
Last Sunday, Carl Camper (not the prank-pulling Carl) woke up excited. The day he had been waiting for had finally arrived. And then he looked at the calendar — it was March 1.
March 1? March 1! But the First Filipino Freethinkers Forum is on February 28 . . . and February 28 was — Yesterday!
He spent the whole Sunday depressed about his bad luck, with only the promise of videos to be uploaded soon as consolation.
So a week later, in our first meetup after the FFFF, I wasn’t surprised when the early bird award went to none other than Carl.
The previous early bird champion, Igme, had a seminar at work. Others were similarly preoccupied — some had office work, some had school work, some would rather lurk.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I took attendance that the headcount reached 10 (yes, I did take attendance, you can ask Monk).
I’m sure there would have been more, had it not been International Women’s day. (To all the women of the world, hope you had a good one!)
To begin the meetup, as all first-timers have, Carl sat on the hotseat and shared with us his journey to reason. In spite of our incessant interruptions, Carl concluded and we moved on to the agenda.
First, we talked about what we could have done to make the FFFF better. We agreed it was a success, but some of us had regrets — missing the chance to ask certain questions or argue with certain speakers or bring certain people to the parking lot.
Next, we discussed the Second Filipino Freethinkers Forum (SFFF) or Filipino Freethinkers Forum 2 (FFF2). (Haven’t decided yet. Any suggestions?)
I assured Danny, one of our hard-working committee leaders, that the FFF2 (I think that sounds nicer) won’t be as grand as the first one, and will take a lot less work.
There won’t be fancy food or merchandise, so expenses will be less (but donations are always welcome). The duration will be shorter — 2 hours at most — but the forum will focus on one narrow theme, to allow for more in-depth discussion.
A committee lead by Pecier will try to book us a venue at UP Diliman, former home of the UP Atheists’ Circle (UPAC). I haven’t heard from him lately, but I’m sure he can get the job done, especially with a lot of guys from UP offering to help.
And as a small informal group, we’ll need all the help we can get. Which is why we’ve been talking about setting up a more formal group that will be more accountable for responsibilities assigned to them, hopefully ensuring that forums such as this will be prepared and executed in a more efficient and effective manner, consistently.
At first there was some hesitance to being part of a more formal group. But after I explained the group’s goals and methods, all ten members in attendance joined in and expressed their willingness to support its objectives.
With this, the FFF2 is now on the horizon, and will be held somewhere in UP Diliman on March 28. Freethinkers, please mark your calendars.
After this we took the mandatory group picture (which I forgot at the forum!) then called it a day at around 5 PM.
Some had to go home but Carl, who came all the way from the south, wanted to make the most of his long trip with an after-meetup party. So the six of us who remained drove to my place, five of us in my car, Carl excitedly tailing us in his motorcycle.
And then Carl’s bad luck returned. When we arrive at my place he discovered that he’d left his driver’s license all the way back at Shangri-la (an irrational parking policy, I know).
He wanted to immediately go back, completely wasting his trip, but we convinced him to stay for a while. He made the most of this by playing Rock Band 2 and Let’s Tap wildly, winning the most games. His luck continued when he got home without being caught by the MMDA licenseless.
But I think there’s only one way Carl can really turn his luck around: Attend the FFF2 on March 28, a SATURDAY. Or maybe he can wear an agimat or anting-anting.
You can now view all 16 FFFF videos on this playlist or on the embedded player below. Enjoy!
Parts 01-02: Introduction and Freethinkers Game
Parts 03-05: John Paraiso on Grassroots Freethinking
Parts 06-07: Geri Villas on Secular Humanism Parts 08-11: Maria Isabel Garcia on Science and Freethinking Parts 12-15: Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio on the RH Bill Part 16: Benjamin Espina on Freethought Online