Monday, March 12, 2018

Three Generations of Movie Enthusiasts

   My mom didn’t read much so I didn’t grow up on fairytales and nursery rhymes.  Instead she told me stories about the movies that touched her heart.  One of them was All Mine to Give, a 1956 drama film about a family in the American west of the mid-19th century.  The parents die, one after the other.  The six children have to look after themselves.  The eldest is tasked by his dying parent to distribute his siblings to the families that could appreciate them.  
   Another of her favorite was The Last Time I Saw Paris.  It starred Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson as Helen and Charles.  After Helen recovers from a near-death case of pneumonia, they get married and settle in Paris.  After a fight angry Charles goes home first and lock the door.  Helen comes home and couldn’t enter. She has to walk all the way to her sister's in the snow and rain. She catches pneumonia again and dies.  This is the movie/story about pneumonia that stayed with me, if it killed Elizabeth Taylor in the movie, it could one day surely kill me.

   Then, I got children of my own.  I read a lot but went to the movies more.  My children didn’t grow up on fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I co-founded The Makati Film Society, which sponsored film revival events with critically claimed movies like the Godfather, Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, etc.  I gave my mom and dad tickets to my film events.  I didn’t expect them to come.  They did and my mom seemed to be proud of what I had done. 

   The arrival of Batamax movie copies in the mid-80's killed the film revival projects. I brought home Betamax tapes of movies I liked.  

   I tried to sneak in my teenage son to a Dirty Harry film.  I told him to pretend he was my date.  The theater usher caught us and threw us out.

   Now, I have written two books, REBEL and The Email Ordered Wife that I wish would get a movie deal.  They could be blockbusters in waiting.  
   The third generation arrived.  My daughter wants to write movies.  She has written and directed a college play, and has a film, Anak ng Tikbalang, which won 2nd Place, People’s Choice Award.  My mom died when she was three years old, I wish my mom could see her now.
See also:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Bout with Pneumonia

   I’ve heard of pneumonia, of people dying of pneumonia.  In January, a 90 years old associate died.  She was in the twilight of her years but it was pneumonia that killed her.  I attended her wake and we all marveled at how her fingers remained soft while she laid in her open casket.  I touched her finger with mine.  It was tender indeed.  A well-meaning friend reminded me of the Bible Book of Numbers 19:11, which says “Anyone touching any dead person will be unclean for seven days.”  I was familiar with the verse.  I dismissed the warning in carelessness and in total disobedience, rationalized that there were no hand sanitizers during biblical times.  Food was served and I had ice cream without washing my hands with water or the sanitizer I had in my purse. 

   Two weeks later, I had cough and running nose.  Typical of Filipinos, I did not go to a doctor.  I self-medicated with the cheapest cough syrup and had my daughter put Katinko on my back.  Katinko had been a home remedy I trusted in the Philippines and have taken with me to California.  The cough turned really bad, like I never had before in my life.

   During my dialysis treatment, the nurse practitioner, Ruth Ramos, happened to be doing her rounds.  That was a blessing despite my disobedience to Bible advice.  Ruth immediately gave me antibiotics, Gentamicin and Vancomycin intravenously.  She was afraid I might just stop breathing.  She was getting ready to call an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.  I refused the ambulance.  I was afraid of what it would cost.  She got Ashraf, the Social Worker to come over to me to explain, it won’t cost me a dime.  I still would rather die than ride an ambulance alone.  She insisted that after dialysis I proceed to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.  

   I called my daughter to come with me after her shift at work.  I sat in my car waiting for her for five hours.  I was slumped in my steering wheel when the Social Worker got into the car parked next to mine.  He sat for a while deliberating if he should ignore me and go on his way.  He decided to go back in the building to inform my dialysis tech, Brian B. Reyes that I was still out there.  Brian came out to check on me.  I told him I was waiting for my daughter and I’ll be alright.

   The nearest hospital, Seton Medical Center, took an x-ray of my chest and back and gave me a discharge instruction that said I had pneumonia.
  My primary doctor, Dr. John Lai, forwarded a prescription of antibiotics to a pharmacy for me to pick up.  As I said, I have never had pneumonia before in my life and always thought it was a game ender.  For two weeks, I wondered if I was going to die.   When I had taken all the antibiotics, I went to see my primary doctor as per the discharge instruction.  He said I’ll be fine.
   The saga of the Filipina who can’t shake off the rebelliousness she got from the streets of Pasay City, Metro Manila, continues. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

5th Anniversary

Bible Articles Pageviews as of Today
   The Filipina Then and Now blog passed a Milestone this past year.  Page views reached 100 thousand three months ago, after 4 years in existence.  This month, let’s celebrate its 5th anniversary.  As I have written, 100 thousand is nothing to brag about considering the internet can deliver millions but as part of my ministry, not so bad.  Pageviews of the Biblical articles has reached conservatively 10,108 from 5,190 in November, 2017.

   Through this blog, I learned that I am a Pogonophiliac, Autodidactic Polymath.  Those are big strange words!  On top of those conditions, I have urgency addiction, which I have known for a couple of decades.

   Tranvia in Pasay City, Racial Divide, Time Travel and F.B. Harrison Ave. are a few articles that journey back in time.  

   2017 was a sad year for me.  My father, Marciano Camino died in August, followed by one of my brothers in November.  They will be missed. 

   I found two causes I feel strongly about, Free Dialysis Philippines and Transonic Monitoring equipment for all dialysis centers.  Dialysis patients in the Philippines are choosing to forego the expensive treatment.  The articles Guarantee to Life is Constitutional and Medicare Entitlement for Dialysis are basis for an appeal for a similar health benefit for Filipinos, which led to the article An Open Letter to President Duterte.

   The Transonic Monitoring equipment which helps monitor the efficiency of dialysis access in patients is very expensive.  Few dialysis centers invested in it because it does nothing for the center profit wise.  It helps the patients, but none of them can afford one and it takes a dialysis staff to work it.  

   Please note the comment of a patient on the left.  Without this equipment, the centers resort to needlessly putting patients through fistulagram (commonly called ballooning) every six months “routinely”.  This medical procedure is expensive and painful.  Transonic Monitoring equipment will painlessly give a monthly report on the blood flow inside the dialysis access.

   My daughter encouraged me to put up this blog in 2013.  In June 2017, she  encouraged me to launch a YouTube channel.  She gave me a tripod for my cellphone.  She fixed the lighting in my room for better videotaping.  I must admit I’m beginning to enjoy this new medium.  Let’s see where it will lead.

See also: 
A Glimpse of Taiwan 
Climate Change is a Poverty Issue 
Who Created Sunday

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Vitamins to a Dialysis Patient

   The dialysis process washes out vitamins patients get from food, especially water soluble vitamins.  The dialysis patient will suffer vitamin deficiency without dietary supplement, preferably taken after dialysis so it can stay in the body between dialysis days.  I list below the vitamins that I take and the health benefits they provide.

   Vitamins B6 is vital in the formation of hemoglobin, our red blood cells. Vitamins B6 helps the production of antibodies that fight infection and maintain normal blood glucose levels. 

   Vitamin B12  is needed for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the processing of fats and carbohydrates.  Deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, dementia, weakness, nerve damage and loss of appetite.

   Iron is needed to form red blood cells and work with the hormone Erythropoeitin (EPO) prevent anemia.  Typically, it is added into the dialysis treatment.  If not then it should be taken some other way.

   Biotin is found in foods such as eggs, milk, or bananas.  Milk and banana are among the potassium rich food that are not good for Dialysis patients.  I take Biotin to avoid hair loss, brittle nails, nerve damage, and many other conditions.  

   Fruits rich in Vitamin C are orange, mango, cantaloupe, papaya, banana, all of which are also rich in potassium.  Dialysis patients can't have too much potassium.  The benefits of vitamin C are protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, gum disease, eye disease, and wound healing. 

   Fish Oil benefits come from the Omega-3 fatty acids that it contains.  Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in preventing and managing heart disease, lower blood pressure.  It also helps to reduce pain and swelling which are common to Dialysis patients.

   Vitamin E is an antioxidant. This means it protects body tissues from damage which can harm cells, tissues, and organs.  They are believed to play a role in certain conditions related to aging.  Vitamin E keeps the immune system strong against diseases, helps in formation of red blood cells, widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting inside them.  Vitamin E “can reduce the cramping, anxiety and cravings” all of which are common to dialysis patients. 

   Calcium is necessary for building bones and keeping them healthy.  99 percent of the calcium we take goes to our bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness thereby it prevents Osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis means bone fragility and risk of fracture of the ankle, hip, spine, and wrist.  The heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly.  

See also:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Addiction with No Rehab

   I have an addiction that has no rehab facility.  It’s called urgency addiction.  I don’t know when and how I got it.  I remember as a child I was never late in school or church.  As a teen, I came to my dates one hour early.  I gave myself too much time allowance.  I was afraid of getting caught in traffic, or a public transport accident.  I was always afraid if I were late my date would leave without me.  Ironically, I don’t mind waiting.  If my date was an hour late, which would put my waiting time to two hours, he would find me smiling, just happy the date is going to happen.

   As a working woman, I was never late for the office hour, even when we lived in Cavite and my office was located in Ayala Ave, Makati City.  That’s about 20 miles (31.1 km) using the old Paranaque Road before the Coastal Road was completed.  When I had to see a client, I was always too early for my appointment.  

   I didn’t even know I had a ‘condition’ until I found a book about urgency addiction.  I read the book and found myself in the pages.  It didn’t change me but at least I knew what was keeping me in a constant rush mode.  It had advantages, I accomplished a lot.  The jobs in my resume switched every five years like clockwork.  I built my first home at 26 years old!

   There were disadvantages.  There was that time when I had 2 jobs and a business project on the side all running at the same time.  I had to be prescribed Sinequan to help me sleep.  My rush mode had lost the off switch.  My relationship with my children suffered because I was hard to pin down.  Our ‘quality time’ weekends were a rush to the mall, movies, swimming, etc., when all we should have done was sit and talk.

   Now in my 60’s, the home, the kids, the job, all are gone but not my urgency addiction.  I have made a list to help me take/make time for myself:

1. Between tasks/chores sit on the couch for 5 minutes.  It can't possibly mess my already empty life.

2. Before driving off in my car, I need to turn the radio on and listen to a song.  That would give me less than 5 minutes to catch my breath after the long walk to my parking.
3. Upon arriving at my destination, I need to finish the song that’s playing on my radio before I rush out.  That would keep me from shutting the door on my finger, which actually happened and left a dark spot on my nail.  OUCH!!!

See also:

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: