Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Paluwagan, Filipino Children’s Credit System

   Filipinos are taught to handle money responsibly at an early age.  In the 1950's, I remember every Christmas day, from the time I was five years old, my cousins and I would fall in line to kiss the hand of the adults in the family.  The adults, in turn, handed us cash as Christmas gift.  At the end of the day, we would count our loot and compare who got the most money.  We would then go to the market to buy ourselves clothing or anything that we failed to get our parents to buy for us during the year that passed.  That annual exercise taught us how to value the Christmas money like hard earned salary, since it came once in every 365 days.  We deliberated the entire year on what item we were going to buy for our money.  After we got what we wanted, we felt rewarded, not by Christmas, or Santa Claus, but by a cultural tradition unique to our nation. 

   Midyear, if we wanted something pricey, we had to save up from our daily school allowance called “baon” which came in nickel and dime, just enough for a snack during a break called recess.  So, hoy does a child buy a pricey item without waiting for Christmas?  

   This is where the Paluwagan, a system of credit/lottery of sorts, happens.  Paluwagan in English means ‘ease up’.  This is how it works.  A group of children makes a pact to pay a small amount each day to a pot held in trust by a treasurer.  A raffle with their names decides the series of beneficiaries.  At the end of the month, the entire amount collected, called ‘sweldo’, salary in English, is given to the first one to get picked off the raffle.  The next month’s sum goes to the next kid.  Those who have received their ‘sweldo’ needs to continue paying for the rest to get theirs.  When the Paluwagan goes well, everybody in the group gets their lump sum. 

   Sometimes though, the first kids to get their money loses the incentive to pay their daily obligation.  The last kid supposed to receive might not get a dime back.  In this case the Paluwagan becomes pasikipan, which means in English ‘squeeze up’, because the money would have to be squeezed off from the delinquent members of the group. 

   Paluwagan was the predecessor to our current credit card system.  Aren’t those kids smart?!

WARNING: There are online Paluwagan scams proliferating these days.

See also:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Feel It Still

   The song, Feel It Still, is like an abstract painting.  Everyone has his own interpretation of what the lyrics mean.

   “Generally inspired by a couple specific sea changes that mean a lot to us. 1966 - Civil rights movements, war protest and LSD testing.” (

   “I really wasn't sure what kind of feelings "Feel It Still" was actually expressing.” (

   Here’s my humble take on it based on the Philippine political and historical scenario:

Feel It Still

Can't keep my hands to myself,
Think I'll dust 'em off, put 'em back up on the shelf, In case my little baby girl is in need

Ooh woo, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now
I been feeling it since 1966, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still

Ooh woo, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now
Let me kick it like it's 1986, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still

Got another mouth to feed
Leave it with a baby sitter, mama, call the grave digger

Is it coming back?

Your love is an abyss for my heart to eclipse, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still

Might've had your fill, but I feel it still
 In the Philippines

An old political activist on the shelf puts her little girls need in front of issues she fought for in 1966.

She’s a rebel just for kicks now although she’s still feeling it from 1966.  “The youth group Kabataang Makabayan was founded in 1964,”  It went full blast in 1966.

She’s still kicking it in 1986, when Ferdinand E. Marcos, who ruled the Philippines under Martial Law was ousted in 1986.  “Might be over now”, activists feeling it still came rushing out of the closet for a few kicks.  Some joined the local election, some went further into the hills. 

The change in administration didn’t bring change in government corruption and oppression of the masses.

The activist is reminiscing about the glorious days of the rebellion, wishing it to come back.

The activist is feeling it still about a lover/comrade but it’s been over for a long time.

You’ve really not had your fill, if you feel it still.

See also:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Plans for 2018

   On December 30, 2017, someone asked me if I got plans for the coming year.  I replied, “I plan to live!”  

   Young people plan about marriage, career, having children, travel, immigration, etc.  Some plan on accomplishing their dreams, like missionary work for the religious, organizing and posturing for the politically motivated, or raising money for the shopaholics.  

   The aging and aged make plans about the inevitable, dying.  Doctors will encourage and/or require a Living Will, “a document that explains whether or not you want to be kept on life support if you become terminally ill and will die shortly without life support, or fall into a persistent vegetative state.”  Family and/or descendants will be subtly looking for a Last Will and Testament with their name on it.

   I belong to the aged category.  I have a Living Will, as per doctor’s orders.  A Last Will and Testament would be futile.  I have no property.  I’m living on Social Security.  I have written two books which are waiting for a movie deal.  I’m writing my third book, my masterpiece, I hope.  I have a YouTube channel and this blog for the kind strangers all over the internet who spend their precious time on whatever is on my mind.

   I am sorry to disappoint my haters.  Instead of planning on dying, I have determined to plan on living for as long as Jehovah God allows.  Now, how do I do this?  I Googled “plan on living” and this is what I got, an app that boasts of a happiness tracker, a digital mindfulness manager and wellness platform.  Right now, I have no idea how this app will help me.  I will try it, though, because it’s free.  Filipinos are inclined to try anything that’s free.

   This app aside, my plans for living are as follows:

   1. Focus on my health problems and be proactive in finding solutions.  Instead of relying on doctor’s referral, I searched through my health insurance’s list of providers.  I have not been to a dentist for three years.  I found a good one!  I went over and it did not cost me any.  I had an allergy doctor in Louisville, Kentucky four years ago.  Now I have found one here in California.  I will call for an appointment.

   2. Manage my finances, what little I have left.  My descendants will have to wait for the final nail in my coffin.  All my previous generosity were repaid with hate.  Now I'm afraid if I gave anyone anything, I will be packing hate on top of hate.  “For men will be lovers of themselves...boastful, haughty... unthankful, disloyal,” (2 Timothy 1:2)

   3. I will keep writing and self-publishing.  My books are tributes to people I loved and have loved me.  My intent is to immortalize their characters, that should remain floating in the wind like a plastic bag, long after I have died.

See also:
Google It 
Sites of Manila 
Paperback Writer - Book 2

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Postal Savings Stamp of the 50's

   A postal savings stamp is issued by a government in collaboration with a local bank to enable small amounts of money to be saved as a thrift account.  The funds accumulated may be withdrawn as cash.  Often issued in conjunction with post office run savings banks.

   The Philippine Postal Savings program was introduced in 1907 to enable the poor to have a savings account with the smallest denomination.  Attractive postal savings bank stamps in five, ten, or twenty centavos were sold with a free folding cards with spaces on which to stick the stamps.  

   Well, what do you know?! The US followed the great Philippine idea in January 1911 and in 1942 used it as a war fund raiser.  The US Schools at War Program, was initiated to encourage children into school-based savings.  After the war, the Treasury Department continued to promote Savings Stamps to teach children about banking without having to commute to a bank.  The children purchased stamps from the teacher then filled a savings booklet, that when full, was surrendered for cash.  The program was successful throughout the 1950s.

   I was privileged to have a first hand experience with the postal savings stamps, as a student of Jose Rizal Elementary School, an elementary public school in Pasay City.  I still clearly remember how I embraced the thrift program by buying as much stamps to fill my booklet, from my daily allowance called ‘baon.  The teacher promised saving money would lead to riches and higher grades.  I remember getting my cash back from the filled booklets.  I didn’t get rich or the higher grade.  School postal banking declined in the 1960s and 1970s.

   The notable thing in this piece is that I found an original Filipino idea that the Americans took from us.  And there’s more:

   “Pedro Flores (26 April 1896- December 1963) was a Filipino inventor widely considered as the first Yo-yo maker in the United States and with his Flores yo-yo created the start of an international craze.” 

   “Erythromycin was discovered by Abelardo Aguilar when working for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company as a researcher”  

   The video phone as early as 1954, “National Scientist Gregorio Y. Zara, a physicist, invented a device that makes it possible for two people to see each other on a television while talking on the telephone as early as 1954.” 
Filipino scientist Gregorio Y. Zara demonstrating his “telephone-television” invention in 1954. (Image: National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines via Facebook )

   “The Cordillera Rice Terraces are one of the few monuments in the Philippines that show no evidence of having been influenced by colonial cultures.  Owing to the difficult terrain, the Cordillera tribes are among the few peoples of the Philippines who have successfully resisted any foreign domination and have preserved their authentic tribal culture...The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. They are frequently called the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

See also:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Lone Wolf Friendly World

   When I was a child in the 50’s, out of curiosity maybe, my mother asked me, “How do you want your life to be when you’ve become an adult?”

   “I will live in a small place so I won’t have too much to clean.  I will work so I can pay rent,” I replied.

   “Silly girl, when you get married, your husband can help you with the rent, so you can get a bigger place and a housekeeper to clean for you,” my mom replied, based on her lifestyle of having two live-in housekeepers.

   “Can I not get married?”

   “If you don’t get married, you won’t have children.  If you don’t have children, who will take care of you when you get old?”

   “Oh I want to have children.  I will be the one who will give birth anyway, so I can have children without getting married.”  My reply was so ahead of my mom’s time, ahead of my time even.  She couldn’t wrap her head around my rebellious future plans.

   “Why don’t you want to get married?”

   “Well, a rich husband will cheat on me and mistreat me.  With a poor one, life will be difficult.”  I replied based on common plots in radio drama series.

  My mom gave up the conversation.  She could not, in all honesty, guarantee that my judgment was incorrect.

   Fast forward to the 70s, I lost my poor first husband to Martial Law.  My Engineer second husband did cheat on me.
   By 1980, the world was ready for my childhood dream.  Just as I said in the distant past, I had a child on my own, courtesy of a lover I can’t keep.

   Now, I’m 65 years old, sick and single.  Just in time, the world has turned ‘lone wolf’ friendly.  I got a security system that keeps me sleeping soundly.  The ADT thing actually talks in a woman’s voice to tell me “Window open!” or “Door open!” and sends an alarm to the nearest law enforcement.
   When I need recipes, I can Google the dish.  When I need directions to go someplace, I got Google maps and GPS.  When I want to check out services, I got Yelp.  When I need someone to talk to, I got Siri or Alexa.  When I want friends, I got Facebook.  Should I want to see a movie, I got Fandango.  If I can’t drive, I got Lyft or Uber.  Whenever I travel out of the country, they give me a wheelchair at the airport with someone to push me.  If I should need a massage, a chair will give me a good one for $1-5.
   I heard there is a hug service I can buy, otherwise I can get a comfort pet.  Now, a kiss service I haven’t heard of, but it will come along.

   I wish my mom could see me now.

See also:
Losing No.1 
Losing No.2 
One Adam for One Eve

Friday, December 8, 2017

The US Declaration of Independence is Scriptural

   The United States Declaration of Independence says “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”  

   In simple terms, it says, when events are showing that it is necessary for one people to separate from another, nature and God entitles them to assume their own power among other powers on this earth.  In short, it acknowledges that sovereignty is God given, as the unchanging Bible of the Founding Fathers of the United States and ours states, in Romans 13:1, “for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.”

  The Declaration of Independence continues.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

   I am not a lawyer however, in my humble opinion, the words “all men are equal… unalienable Rights to Liberty” ended slavery.  The right to the pursuit of happiness, which is not found in the constitution of the Philippines, is the footing of the divorce law.  The Filipinos will need to adapt this in their constitution if they are serious about having a divorce law.  The Philippines is the last remaining country without divorce in keeping with the Catholic’s rejection of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32, “However, I say to you that everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of sexual immorality, makes her a subject for adultery,” Jesus clearly says divorce was allowed “on account of sexual immorality,” or he would have said, anyone divorcing his wife commits adultery with no exception.

   The Declaration of Independence continues.  “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

   In the end, the signatories of the Declaration pledged their own life, fortune and honor to each other with mutual faith in God’s protection.
   “I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him.  It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

See also:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Guarantee to Life is Constitutional

   The United States Declaration of Independence guarantees “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  In October 1972, the US Congress passed the Social Security Amendments of 1972.  Under this Act, Congress amended the Medicare law to extend coverage to individuals who were under 65 years of age, if they had End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), and had (or were the spouse or dependent of someone who) worked long enough to qualify for Social Security.  Before this law, only 65 years of age and over are entitled to free, no premium payment Medicare.

    The US Congress enacted this historic Medicare entitlement for dialysis, the first to cover a particular diagnosis under the guarantee to “life”.  A particular diagnosis means this Medicare law does not cover other illnesses, however terminal, i.e. Cancer, AIDS, Heart Disease, etc.  It only covers ESRD.  The justification for this is that patients with Cancer, AIDS, Heart Disease, etc. can go on remission and live.  The dialysis patient will surely die in a matter of days or weeks without dialysis.  There is no remission for ESRD but dialysis would rehabilitate a big proportion of the patients.  They can work, pay taxes and support their family and the economy, but only if they have the lifesaving treatment they need so badly. 

   The US law provided for a budgeted program authorizing appropriations of “such sum as may be necessary” to financially assist U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, as it states, “aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence...Financial assistance was to be for any costs which individuals are unable to pay from funds otherwise available to them,” which in short, means rich people with means to pay for dialysis are not entitled to the free coverage.  

   Although the unit costs of dialysis seems high, the technological advance could bring them down.  “For example, Dr. Sam Kountz, a transplant surgeon at the University of California, has reduced his costs to $8,000 per transplant or no more than any major surgical procedure.” (From: Biomedical Politics, 1991, Chapter: Origins of the Medicare Kidney Disease Entitlement: The Societal Security Amendments of 1972)  

   Another study in the US showed that lives could be saved if ESRD patients can afford transplantation, otherwise, those will be unconstitutional needless deaths.  A national program of kidney transplant through the Social Security Administration was enacted.  

See also: