I was invited to join Rock Ed in Bilibid Prison, where I gave a talk on horror fiction. I wrote about the experience in my GMA Column. Here's an exerpt:
You hear all sorts of things about folks in prison. It doesn't help that movies paint prison as being a dark, soulless place where people are kept behind bars and given scarps of food to eat.
The security inside Bilibid is unbelievably tight (and rightly so). No cellphones or cameras allowed. We had to empty out the contents of our bags, surrender an ID and get frisked. The guys had to get stamped as proof that they don't belong inside. After all that, we were finally in.
The inside of Bilibid is like a little barangay. There is a hospital, a basketball court, a canteen, numerous sari-sari stores. People walk around, some in their orange uniforms, others in casual attire. It looked like you were in a men-only commune and not one of the biggest prisons in the country. People called out to Gang as she passed, all of which she greeted with a cheerful 'hello' back. We could see groups of prisoners walking around -- probably gang leaders and their 'bodyguards.' We passed some joggers who waved happily at us. The tiny road was smooth and well-paved, a far cry from some of the streets you see in Metro Manila.
Read the whole thing here.