Monday, December 23, 2013

Losing Love

   Daisy had just lost Manny to US immigration when she found out she was pregnant.  She did not stop him from leaving.  She had nothing to offer.  She was hard working and drove an old red Volkswagen Beetle but she was not rich and never will be.  She did not want to stand in the way of his success.  It was his lifelong dream to live and work in America. 

   They met in mid November.  It was love at first sight but all he could talk about was his immigration plans.  By mid December Daisy was pregnant.  She tried to put up a brave front.  She told him she can raise the baby by herself, that she didn't need his support.  She was old enough to know how to prevent pregnancy but chose to throw caution to the wind.  It would have been an entrapment if she were to hold him to the responsibility.  

   When next December came she locked herself in her room to wrap Christmas presents.  She didn't want her baby crawling around knife and scissors.  Suddenly she got the impulse to cut her wrist.  Life meant nothing without Manny.  That was when she heard her baby cry outside the door.  She decided to live till the little girl has grown. 

   It has been said that one dies when one is ready.  Daisy has been ready from the last day she saw Manny.  Life meant nothing without him.  Then she met Jehovah's witnesses who showed her in the Bible God's promise of paradise on earth. (Isaiah 65:17-25)  She realized she could be with Manny again someday.   She finally decided to live on and let nature take its course.  

   Daisy arrived in America in 2006.  She never saw Manny again.  He died in Texas in 1998. 

See also:
Unspoken Prayer 
Love at First Sight 
One Adam for One Eve

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Nationalist Abroad

   Nationalism is not about saluting the flag.  The flag is only a symbol of a country's identity.  Nationalism is love of country, not the land.  Soil and sea are the same everywhere.  It is the love for one's own people.  How does a nationalist remain as one after immigration? 

   Sarah was a teen in the late 60’s when the Philippines was undergoing political changes.  She was politicized in college, a process mature people at that time called ‘brain washing’ due to the very controversial ideologies involved.  She had always been patriotic.  Unlike most Filipinos she did not dream of traveling or living abroad.  She loved everything Filipino, food, movies, and was proud of Filipino innovations like the jeepney.  She felt more than normal attachment to the heroes of the Philippine revolution. 

   As the years drifted by her life took a turn from left to right, with more ups and downs than common to most.  Sarah found herself an immigrant in the US.  She appreciated the big difference in the American system as compared to the Philippines such as the social services for the poor and the aged, the secure postal system, the hiring of middle aged and disabled and a police force that actually help and protect people. 

   She met Filipinas who would rather be called Americans.  One of them invited Sarah to dinner at her place and when Sarah asked for a spoon her host said “You need to learn to eat with fork only now that you’re in America.”  One of them claimed to have descended from the Greek while her skin color and accent clearly shouts Cebu. 

   Sarah could not understand their point of view and they could not get hers because her heart dictates a love for her nation that knows no boundaries.  She buys Colgate, Hunts, Hormel, and other brands she knew are manufacturing in the Philippines because it’s her small way of patronizing companies that invest and provide jobs to her people. 

   She takes every opportunity to speak of her beautiful Philippines, the unique culture and highlights the qualities of the Filipino as different from other Asians to an extent that her daughter told her “Mom, stop it already!  You sound like a tourism agent.”

   Citizenship is printed on paper.  The all-knowing God who created mankind put nationality in the blood.  The DNA that flows through a Filipina’s heart certifies with every beat her nationality.

See also:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thrift Tips Part 2

TIP #1:   Maggie, a Filipina who lived in Louisville, KY, used the cheapest gasoline for Slick, her Saturn.  The price said she was saving about 15 cents per gallon.  Then one day she ran out of gas where there was only a Marathon gas station.  She had to bear the extra expense.  After she filled up her tank, as soon as she switched her engine on she noticed a roar that she never heard before.  When she stepped on the gas pedal the engine seemed to have gained more power so that just a little tap on the pedal went a longer way than it used to.  She realized she had been limiting Slick with her cost cutting all those years.  She could not apologize enough to Slick for the damage cheap gas might have done to her engine.

   Seven years later Maggie moved to San Francisco and could not find Marathon.  Her stinginess kicked in again.  She went back to the cheapest one she could find.  It was the kind that accepted only debit cards or cash.  Then a friend told her about Chevron.  She tried it.  It cost a few cents more.  The engine did not regain the roar she got with Marathon however at the end of the week she still had a quarter of a tank remaining.  She realized she actually saved because a little tap on the gas went farther than it used to.  She decided to stick to Chevron in the absence of Marathon.  

TIP #2:   If you have ants that show up around the house instead of using insecticide, you can go to an Asian store where a big bag of sea salt would cost no more than $3.  Sea salt is not a chemical that can cause side effects.  It is a mineral that God created for seasoning food which means it can’t harm anyone.  Spread the salt wherever you find ants (for some reason even I don’t know ants hate salt).  You can use the rest of the salt for your cooking needs.  In the Philippines salt is also used to fight termites.  You dissolve in water and pour in the house foundation.  When the water evaporates it will leave the solidified salt in the ground.  Cheaper than pest control!

TIP #3:   If you have insects that bother your garden, buy cheap cigarettes take off the filter and soak some in a pale of water overnight.  Sprinkle the garden with the water in the morning.  This will not hurt the plant because tobacco is shredded leaf not a chemical.  Insects will avoid the plants because they know it can’t be good for them little bitty creatures if cigarette can cause cancer in big humans.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cradle Snatcher

   Candi, who married at 18, went to the movies with her 8 year old son.  She was 26 but looked 10 years younger due to her slim physique.    In 1978 there was no computer application that gave out movie screening schedule.  The two got to the theater 30 minutes too early.  They waited at the lobby which was open to the sidewalk.  

   A teenage boy on a bike  passed them and stopped to small talk.  Candi figured there was no harm.  They obviously all belonged to the same community.  The teen didn't ask about the boy she was with.  He must have assumed Candi's son was her brother.  She didn't look old enough to have a son that age.  After the introduction was done the teen started to flirt with Candi which she found amusing.  The past 9 years has slowly killed the passion in her  marriage.  

   The teen asked for Candi's  address.  She gave it to him without a second thought.  A few days later Candi's husband woke her from an afternoon nap.  There was a young man on a bike at their front door asking for her.  It never occurred to the teen the man he was facing was her husband.  She did give him her address. A married woman might not have done that.  Candi told her husband to get rid of the teen by letting him know she was married.

   By 2013 Candi was divorced and living in California.  She and her daughter decided to use the street cleaning hours which cleared the streets of parked cars to drive around the block so the younger girl could practice for her coming driver's license test.  Three times they passed a Latino teen on a bike.  

   A week later while Candi was cleaning her car along the street the same Latino teen of about 16 approached and started to small talk.  This was how the conversation went down:

Teen: Do you teach people how to drive?

Candi: No, that was just my daughter.  

Teen: Why was your husband not teaching her?

Candi: Oh, I'm not married.  

Teen: Why not? you're pretty.

Candi:  Thank you but I'm tired of talking care of a husband.

Teen: I'll take care of you. (Candi looks a doable 60 but this was hilarious.)  

Candi: Really?!  What do you think your mom would say about that?

Teen: We don't have to tell her. I can live with you.

Candi: No, that won't work.  

   The sad part of this story was Candi never got offers like this from men closer to her age, a flattering but frustrating recurring proposition of cradle snatching.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dance On the Brink of Death

   Here’s a story about another Filipina during another storm at another place and time.  She was a Filipina like all the rest if not for a short video of her last moment on this earth.  The video gave the world an opportunity to meet her and show a character like no other.
   As most Filipinas her age she had dreams of a bright future and a long life with her loved ones.  She may have been poor by rich people's standards but she was a diamond in the mud.

   When she was trapped by the raging water she could see people across the river but she didn't beg for rescue probably not wanting to endanger anyone else.  She was old enough to know the odds of her getting rescued.  She must have been scared.  She sat and ate her last meal.  Then she danced for the camera, for her live audience across the river.   Her courage was incredible.  She didn't give up easily.  She fought to stay alive in the water but the river got the best of her and just before she sank under water she raised both arms as if in triumph.  And triumph she did.  Anyone can die a conventional death but no one else could die in such a grand manner.
   Anderson Cooper of CNN during his visit to the typhoon stricken Tacloban City, Philippines said "Thank you for showing us all how to live."

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Filipina in Adversity

   The Philippines is divided into 81 provinces.  English and the national language Tagalog are taught in all levels of education while Spanish is taught in high school and college.  There are at least 14 major provincial languages and minor languages spoken by small communities in far flung areas which are not taught in school.  The country might as well have been named Islands of Babel.  Just as the story of the Tower of Babel says “Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words…” then “God had confused the language of all the earth, and had scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth.” (Genesis 11: 1-9)

   Colonizers used the language barrier and the subcultures of the provinces to divide and rule.  Regions were encouraged to be prejudice against each other.  Just as other nations have racial slurs, provinces and regions had invectives against each other.  This resulted in bearing 300 years of atrocities under Spanish colonization before a revolution was even started.  

   The nation’s division has continued on down the years through American colonization, Japanese occupation and decades of democracy marred by corruption, nepotism and incompetence.  

   The recent calamity caused by typhoon Haiyan left Tacloban City littered with dead bodies among the debris of homes reduced to rubbles.  Relief efforts to deliver food, water and medicine were hampered by the lack of cargo planes, the airport needed time to get cleaned and functional, the police and medical practitioners are themselves victims so that few have reported to work.  

   Bigger nations rallied to send help.  The GMA Kapuso Foundation and The ABS-CBN Foundation held telethon and delivered goods to the storm victims.  Help came from all over the Philippines.  The language of tragedy has unified the country.

   When bodies are piled up on a common grave it means loved ones are buried without time to be identified.  There is no time to mourn.  The Filipina storm victim continues on to save who and what she can.  In the midst of the chaos are breastfeeding Filipinas who came to nurse babies in need of milk in the devastated areas.  

   When a country’s women population is as strong and as brave as their men that nation can stumble with adversity yet not be crippled by despair.  When it finally finds its power the Philippines would be formidable and the Filipina, its moving force.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


   Jean was a Filipina divorcee in Louisville, Kentucky.  She was 59 but looked 48 and thought she was 18.  Two years in her dialysis treatment the dialysis center was bought by a bigger company.  This change brought in new Dialysis Technicians.  One of them was Mike, a Zac Efron look alike in his thirties.  Jean who has a weakness for good looking could not take her eyes off him.

   It seemed like Mike was one of those who did not welcome minorities.  Jean noticed him picking on the only Filipina Tech.  A few weeks later the Filipina tech was gone.   Jean was the only Asian patient.   She braced herself to be the next casualty. 

   Contrary to her fears Mike was good to her, doing things not expected of his job.  He helped her put her shoes on, massaged her leg during a bad cramp, folded her blanket after her run, etc.  He was careful not to hurt her whenever he was assigned to her.  He came over to say a few sweet words whenever he was not her tech even when he was working in the room across the hall.  

   When an African American patient tried to get Jean's attention and she ignored the man Mike passed by dropping the word "racist" out of context, an accusation in a code.  She felt the stab.  She was infuriated because it simply was not true.  As Mike walked back she said "That patient has been harassing me all the time".  

   "Why don't you just avoid him?" Mike replied.

   "That’s what I’ve been doing."

   Mike seemed to realize his subtle attack was out of line.  

   Jean avoided any conversation with Mike from there on and pretended to be asleep when he enters the room.  He sent her apologetic looks which she pretended not to notice.  Until during one treatment her lady tech told her to walk around the room to bring her blood pressure up.  She looked around for Mike in order to avoid him.  She was asked to walk around the room twice.  The second time got the two of them crossing paths.  Their eyes said volumes.  Jean could not resist anymore.  Their ‘connection’ was back on. 

   Jean always liked younger men and have dated quite a few but Mike was younger than her sons.  The decades between their ages would be a long jump off a cliff called ‘Sexual Harassment Gorge’.  Still, while their imaginary relationship lasted, she felt like she lived inside a hologram of a love affair. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Marital Issue

   Some preachers claim that the forbidden fruit is symbolic.  In the absence of a priest or a judge to perform the ceremony having sexual relations before the wedding was the real reason Adam and Eve were thrown out of paradise.  

   Genesis 2:24-25 reads “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.  And both of them continued to be naked, the man and his wife, and yet they did not become ashamed.”  God himself married Adam and Eve as He called her Adam’s wife.  There’s no wedding better than that which reiterates  “man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife” when the man Adam did not have a set of human parents.  

   Was procreation the only purpose of sexual relation between Adam and Eve?  In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says “When a man is newly married, he is not to be drafted into military service or any other public duty; he is to be excused from duty for one year, so that he can stay at home and make his wife happy.”  This command says that the man must give his wife a whole year of honeymoon period to make his wife happy (rejoice) which should include sexual satisfaction, a pleasure designed by God and bestowed to all humans.  

   Some would say the above is from the ‘Old’ Testament and should no longer matter.  Well, here’s from the ‘New’: “The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does.  Do not be depriving each other…” (1 Corinthians 7:4-5)  That command is clear as daylight.  There’s no misunderstanding that.

   In current situations when a husband deprives the wife of sexual satisfaction it is typically due to three reasons:

1. He is doing someone else.
2. Someone else is doing him.
3. He suggested a three way and the wife refused.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Politics of Marriage

   Although the two countries' economies have always been intertwined 5 years after World War II ended, the American presence in the Philippines was at its height.  Raw materials were imported from the United States.  The Filipino cheap labor created the finished products which were then exported back to the US and other countries.  

   Most young Filipinos at that time joined the US Armed Forces.  Carding was one of them.  When Carding’s father Mauricio heard about Carding’s courting Tinay’s daughter Duday he told his wife it would be a good idea to arrange their marriage.  US enlisted men who married abroad never came back.  They stood to lose a dollar earner.  His wife agreed.  Mauricio approached Tinay to propose the matrimony between their young ones.  

   “My daughter has a weak heart.  I don’t think it would be good for her to marry.”  Tinay said, cautious about the offer.  

   “Carding has been accepted in the US Army.  He will be able to get her better medical treatment in Sangley Point hospital.”  Mauricio gave Tinay an offer she can’t refuse.  

   The following week Tinay told Duday “Go get dressed, put on something nice.  We’re going someplace.”  Duday did immediately as she was told.  Somewhere in the adjacent city Mauricio was giving his son Carding the same directive.  The four characters met up in front of a judge.  

   “If there’s anyone who objects to the union of Carding and Duday in matrimony let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” the Judge started with the customary line.  

   The groom and bride looked at each other in shock.  Neither one of them had a clue.  They knew each other real well, even flirted once or twice.  Obviously their parents knew each other too.  However getting wed to each other on that day was never in their wildest dreams.  Duday had other suitors although she favored Carding.  They were both afraid to question their parents.  

Carole Lombard
   During the honeymoon Carding found Duday who was a Spanish mestiza almost centerfold perfect.  Her long white thighs and legs reflected the moonlight coming in through the window.  She had long brown hair, aquiline nose, deep Spanish eyes and the thin lips that were in fashion before women artificially plumped up their lips.  Carding realized his new wife looked like Carole Lombard.  

   Duday died at the age of 55.  She left Carding three children.  They were together for 32 years.  Below is a song that was popular among US enlisted men and their wives of that era.

Friday, October 25, 2013

On Bullying

      What is wrong with this picture?  How did that pair of shoes get up there?  And who did it?  

   The image means a boy went home barefoot in cold San Francisco.  There is only one way this could happen, a bully forced him to give up his shoes.  It is a prank against which there is no law.  The shoes were not stolen and the boy was not assaulted but the humiliation and helplessness that he must have felt could potentially scar him for life.  He could grow up scared of everyone or worse when he finds his own power he might do worse to others not necessarily the person who had bullied him.  

   The boy would have to explain to his parents where he lost his shoes.  If he told his parents the truth about the shoes’ new location the parents could either be sympathetic or berate him for not defending himself.  This is an American scenario.

   Here’s the Filipino version.  Tina, a single mom of a fifth grader in the Philippines overheard a friend say to her son, Teddy “Why do you let that Bong treat you that way?”  

   Tina’s alarm went up and barged in on the kids’ conversation “What did you say Jasper?  What’s that Bong doing?”  

   Apparently Teddy was being bullied in school.  He never mentioned it at home.  Tina told the boys “I will pass by the school tomorrow on my way to work.  Jasper, you point out that Bong to me.  I want to talk to him.”  

   The following morning Tina came charging into the school while the kids were out in the grounds with no teacher around.  Immediately Jasper pointed out Bong who suddenly got scared as all fifth graders commonly are when confronted by an adult.  

   “I know what you have been doing to Teddy.  If I hear you still mistreating him after this conversation I will come back and beat you up myself.  And oh, I have a gun I can use.  Don’t try to escalate this.” Tina said. Bong was clearly shaken.  As per subsequent reports he has been ‘nice’ to Teddy since that day.

   Some parents get their kids martial arts training to be able to defend themselves.  Some move the child to another school.  Some said Tina was wrong for confronting and threatening Bong.  It’s a matter of opinion.  Being a single mom Tina believed it was her duty to protect or fight for her son in the absence of a law that should protect children from other children.  She did not want martial arts lesson because that could hurt her son too.  So she did what she could.  

   "For men will be lovers of themselves... having no natural affection...without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness..." (2 Tim 3: 1-3)

Monday, October 21, 2013

War of the Santos’

   As the old movie War of the Roses showed marriage could turn into a war.  When it does the casualties are unfortunately mostly children.  A similar story happened in the Philippines.    

   Ramon Santos was a catch.  He was a college graduate.  He cannot be called gorgeous but he’s not bad looking either.  He was a nice soft spoken religious man who loved children and who would seemingly twist himself into a box to get along with his wife Laura.  Actually he was a clinical sample of a Passive Aggressive character before the name of the condition reached the Philippines.

   Laura, on the other hand, was a strikingly good looking, above average intelligent housewife.  She would fight anyone over anything she felt strongly about and call it ‘assertiveness’.  Thus, the reign of the marriage has been put decidedly in her hands from the get go.  She was a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) before the name of the condition reached the Philippines.

   Now let’s see how those two conditions came into play to create the War of the Santos’.  

   When Ramon realized that his dream of having a working wife has been frustrated he started secretly dating a work associate while remaining the compliant husband at home.  This offense would not be overlooked by the hyperactive observant Laura. 

   When Ramon’s company sponsored a summer weekend beach outing he told Laura wives were not invited because his ‘office girl’ would be there.  Laura investigated and found out other wives were attending.  When Ramon came home from his fun weekend Laura was playing solitaire with cards.  He was running a fever and must have caught a virus in the remote beach resort.  He asked Laura to take him to a hospital.  She continued playing her game and said “You need to call the girl you were with to take you.”  

   Of course Ramon denied her allegation and begged sweetly further.  Laura let her loving husband ‘stew in his own juice’ until the fever has gotten to deathly temperature then she took him to the hospital dropped him at the counter and went home after telling him if he needed assistance he should call the girl he was with.
   When Ramon got better he cooked Laura her favorite dish ‘bagoong’ with lots of tomato then kept it without refrigeration for a few days to spoil then served it to Laura.  The salty taste of the dish disguised the rancidity.  Laura almost died from food poisoning that day.  Ramon did not take her to the hospital till Laura’s cousin who was present started screaming “Take her to the hospital!”

   By God’s intervention the couple failed to kill each other.  This marriage was ended by a US divorce.  Their children never saw it coming.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tamboy – A Legend on His Own Street

   Lallie lived with her husband and son in the same Pasay City neighborhood she grew up in.  They rented an apartment a block from a catholic church, three houses away from a convenient store and right next door to a Mahjong gambling site.
 Whenever she was bored Lallie hung out as ‘miron’ (watcher) around the Mahjong games with her little baby in her arms waiting for a chance to play for free when a player needs to eat or go for restroom break.  She didn’t gamble, couldn’t afford it anyway.  She just enjoyed the chatter around the tables where players gossip, flirt with each other or fight over the game.  Gamblers teased each other about a family problem or personal imperfection to distract the opponent.  In a neighborhood where homes are too close to each other anybody’s family situation is common knowledge.  Personal imperfection included age, looks, smell, hair loss, etc.  

   Another ‘miron’ whispered to Lallie.  “His name is Tamboy, a policeman’s son.  He’s a legend, you know.”

   Lallie looked at the young man the gossip was referring to.  He looked nice, wore glasses with round rims like John Lennon wore.  He was quite neat and decent looking despite the shoulder length hair.  He was thin, no tattoo or mark of any kind.  He spoke with a very hip tone like “Ye eh eh eh, how are you Mrs. L?”  Tamboy was the only one who calls her Mrs. L.

   “When he was a young boy, you know, he used to wait for the school children to pass by.  He would put a big empty can on the middle of the street and children would drop some of their lunch money in the can.  I asked what that was for and one of the kids said if anyone is being bullied Tamboy would set it straight and the bully would have to donate to the can as part of the punishment.”  The gossip continued with her information.  Lallie felt a new respect for the young man who looked so harmless.

   The gossip whispered a new update the following week.  “Tamboy caught his father once hitting his mother.  He waited for the old man to leave.  Out on the street he jumped the old man, put a knife to his throat and told him if he ever hit the mom again he’s going to get it.  The father learned his lesson.”  Lallie’s jaw dropped.  

   The next time Lallie crossed path with Tamboy she was on her way to the fresh market.  The boy as his usual greeted the bored young mom with “Ye eh eh eh, Mrs. L, you’re too pretty to go to that dirty wet market.”  That made Lallie’s day.  

  She didn’t see Tamboy for a while then one day she heard that he had died in a shootout.  With a couple of friends, they carjacked a taxi, tied the driver, unhurt and left him at the cemetery.  The plan was to use the taxi for a joy ride / road trip.  The driver was able to get himself free and notified the authorities.  During Martial Law carnapping was punishable by death.  Police shot to kill with no questions asked.  It was said that Tamboy came out of the cab unarmed with his hands up.  He was shot with high powered rifles that almost cut him in half, the final act in the life of a legend on his own street.  


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eat Bulaga - The Nation's Equalizer

   In the 60’s and 70’s Pasay City was raw.  Cherie grew up in the streets of Pasay City and was proud of it.  When not in school she hung out in the street corner store with local bums called ‘istambays’ (from the English words stand by).  She could throw a joke like ‘Tito, Vic and Joey’. 

   After college, when Cherie was in her 20’s she co-founded a film buff organization that sponsored film showings for the benefit of a charity organization.  Her main function was marketing the projects and for that she sent out press releases and went to live television shows for free plugging and airtime exposure of their film festival poster.  Eat Bulaga, the highest rating noon time show never failed to accommodate her.  Needless to say the TV plugging helped sell the tickets and made each project a success.

   When Cherie immigrated to the US Eat Bulaga continued on in the backdrop of Filipino life.  Recently Cherie rediscovered Eat Bulaga via The Filipino Channel (TFC).

   The show is still very Filipino, more so now than ever.  The segment “All for Juan and Juan for All” seeks out the poorest of the poor in a different locale per episode to hand out cash and goods to be used as capital for business, budget for children’s education or whatever else the lucky family could use.  

   Cherie could not keep from crying as she watched an old woman who actually lived in a church’s toilet get cash and she could now find a proper living space for her granddaughter and herself.  A hard working repair man whose wife has left him with four children got some help to put his children back in school.  And the list goes on.  

   Eat Bulaga’s journey from accommodating charitable projects into becoming the nation’s equalizer happened inconspicuously while the country’s leaders were busy privatizing government assets and political commentators were busy exposing corruption without any concrete result.  Eat Bulaga as led by ‘Bossing’ Vic Sotto has devised a new way of ‘giving back’, a silent unconditional aid to a face in the crowd.

   “But the poor will not always be forgotten; nor will the hope of the meek ever perish.” (Psalms 9:18)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

High School Girls

   Tess, a Filipina, went to a catholic school in Manila in the mid 60’s.  Unlike public school the all-girls private schools were full of tall ‘mestiza’ (means a high degree of Caucasian genes).  Tess was ‘mestizahin’ which meant she was fairer than most but not quite as white as the real ‘mestiza’.  She grew up to 5’1 tall then stopped growing.  She had smooth skin with no pimple common to teens however she had a round face, a result of her Chinese genes which dominated her Spanish.  She has over staying baby fats and wore eye glasses for astigmatism so she was not picked for volleyball or any kind of sports.  

   She had long hair her mother insisted on braiding into what her mom called pig tails when braid was not in fashion and wore clothes made by a ‘modista’ or dressmaker while her schoolmates wore clothes from department stores at Escolta Street, Manila.  Her family was not poor but they were not rich either so she was more comfortable making friends with poorer classmates and neighbors.  

   Tess has above average intelligence but she was not competitive like her more commended schoolmates.  She was quite content with getting just above passing grades which she got without much effort.  This might have been a result of the unconditional love she got from her parents and grandparents.  She didn’t have to compete with siblings because she was an “unica hija” (only daughter).  

   Her teachers said she has ‘potential’, for what they did not specify.  Her grandmother wanted her to be a lawyer because she was so smart.  No one ever said she was pretty.  Unlike all little girls she was never asked what she wanted to be when she grew up or they would have been surprised at her answer.
Flores de Mayo Procession 

   Tess wanted to be a beauty queen but she was not even invited to the Flores de Mayo festival which featured the local beauties.  Then she wanted to be a Flight Stewardess but she was too short.  At sixteen she wanted to be a ‘television caged dancer’
but that one had height requirement too.  Then she noticed that all the girls in school had well developed breasts while she was chubby in the wrong places.  She did everything the women’s magazines suggested, massage, exercise, boobs diet, etc., nothing worked for her.  The push up bra might have helped but there was nothing to push.  

   It has been said that every kid is miserable in high school.  Tess knew a lot of early bloomers who had the time of their life back then.  She just was not one of them.   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hidden Gender 2

   At twenty one Amanda finally found a nice young man to marry.  Her family loved Charlie.  He had a college degree.  Both of his parents have died.  Amanda’s family said “That is the best catch.  You will not have in-laws to mess it up.”  

   They married and had two sons three years apart.  Their boys were well behaved.  Charlie never raised a hand or even his voice at anyone in his family.  Both Charlie and Amanda worked and enjoyed their careers on weekdays.  They went to resorts on weekends to have quality time with the children.  Beach resorts were an hour’s drive from where they lived and in the Philippines in the 70’s cost as cheap as a movie ticket.  Life was good.  

   Eight years in the marriage Charlie found a male friend, Mario who was also married and seemed like a respectable guy.  Amanda got used to finding Mario in their car.  Charlie offered to take him home every time he hung out with them or whenever he came to visit them at home.  

   One fine day when Charlie and Amanda were with other friends, another couple, Mario came over to say hello and opened the passenger car door to say a few words to the couple in the back seat.  As he shut the door Mario pretended to have caught his finger in the door.  Charlie jumped out of the driver’s seat and in a flash got to Mario’s side to see if he was hurt.  This is where Mario said it was a joke.  He was messing with them.  Amanda looked at Mario and then Charlie and then at the couple in the back seat.  She took mental pictures of the reactions and filed them away in her mind for future reference.  Later that day the woman in the back seat said to Amanda “Why did Mario do that to Charlie?” referring to the ‘joke’.  Amanda had no answer but again filed the question in her mind for future reference.  

   In the 80’s when working in the Middle East became a trend for Filipinos, Mario went to Riyadh, shortly after Charlie quit his stable job in the Philippines to join him against Amanda’s wishes.  However Charlie's appointment in Riyadh lasted only 3 months.  He was sent back home.  It was bad enough that jobs in the Philippines were hard to come by, Charlie left all his work clothes with Mario as if leaving his suitcase was a guarantee that he would be able to return.  Without work his clothes and no money to shop for new ones it took Charlie 2 years to find another job.   

   How any 35 year old could be that desperate to be with a friend to the detriment of his family’s income was a great puzzle, to Amanda most of all.   She remembered what her mother used to say about married men "his heart is where his clothes are".  It was at this point where all the ‘files for future reference’ were revisited.  

   Amanda did not ask the question.  She knew the answer.  Still she waited till the children have grown and married before she dumped her 2nd encounter of the 3rd kind.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hidden Gender 1

   Today’s gay generation is fighting to be allowed same sex marriage.  They were not always so brave.  In the early 70’s in the Philippines, Amanda, a 19 year old absolutely gorgeous heterosexual girl had her first encounter with the third kind.

   He was 5’11 tall, not a common height for a Filipino.  His name was Guerrero, 29, which means “warrior”, a name that showed his parents must have towering hopes for their son’s manliness.  He bragged that he could do karate although no one has seen him in action.  He took up Engineering in college, a course dominated by men of that era.  He was manly good looking with curly hair and almost Caucasian white skin.  He was a wide reader, the kind that would often name drop the authors and titles he has read.

   Amanda was smitten.  He never asked her out or even called however during parties Guerrero openly flirted with her, making sure other friends heard him, which flattered the young girl.  He would say such things as “Amanda is the girl of my dreams” or “if she wasn’t dating my friend I’d definitely make her mine.”  

   Those words were convincing enough for Amanda to make the call herself.  Guerrero hung up on her before she could say a word.  Amanda never called again and avoided the usual parties where he would be invited.  

   One day Amanda heard one of their friends died in a motorcycle accident.  She went to the wake and was puzzled why all their friends were giving their condolences to Guerrero instead of the parents of the deceased.  From bits and pieces of the guests’ conversations Amanda realized Guerrero and the man who died were more than just friends.  

   Typically it is a strikingly attractive female who qualifies to be a distraction for hiding in plain sight.  Amanda who was clueless at the ways of the closet gay was emotionally bruised by way she had been used to decorate the closet door.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Thousand Years

   On the question “Who do you want to be with for a thousand years?” many would not have one in mind.  In these days when marriages could end in 55 hours, 9 days or 2 weeks having someone for a thousand years is unthinkable.  

   The Bible records a promise of everlasting life in Titus 1:2upon the basis of a hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times long lasting”.  In John 11:25-26, Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life.  He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all…”  Everlasting life is longer than a thousand years.  In Isaiah 65:21-22, the Bible says “And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat [their] fruitage.  They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating.  For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full.”  

   The question gets clearer.  Who do you want to build a home and have occupancy with for eternity?  When there will be no foreclosure nor financial woes what could possibly be a reason not to stay.  

   Resurrected people are not going to be like robots.  They might still get bored, change their minds or have unique quirks that could rub the other the wrong way.  The movie The Mexican brought out a question “If two people love each other but they can’t seem to get it together when do you get to the point of enough is enough” the corresponding answer is “never”.  

   Never is as long as forever, so who do you want to be with for a thousand years?  The one you could never say goodbye to.  One clue is he must like talking to you.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Get Up…

   Olivia, a Filipina was abandoned in the Philippines by her Filipino husband of 23 years.  He ran off to the US to marry another Filipina.  She raised their children and got them through college without any support from her runaway husband.  

   At 51 she was alone with two sons married and one daughter abroad.  In her loneliness she dated an American and married him after three years.  She joined him in the US, got her ‘green card’ and got a job in a bank.  During the height of the mortgage crisis of 2008, Olivia was diagnosed with kidney disease.  She will require regular hemodialysis.  Her American husband panicked over finances and divorced her.  She found herself alone again after only 3 years of marriage.

   She thought at least she had her job to fall back on.  Unfortunately, a corporation which has hundreds of thousands of employees can self-insure to avoid paying the cost of commercial insurance.  To keep the losses at a minimum they fire employees that would require expensive medical treatment.  Within a year on dialysis, Olivia was fired for “unsatisfactory performance” after four years of employment in the bank.

   Three years after her divorce Olivia still lived in the same zip code as her American ex-husband who wondered what she was hanging around for.  Why not go home to the Philippines and die in the arms of her countrymen or join her cousins in California?  

   He would never have guessed the reason in a million years.  A lesson from Olivia’s grandmother says “Kung saan ka nadapa doon ka babangon.”  Literally it meant ‘you rise where you fall’.  Symbolically it meant bloodied, beat or dying you let your enemy see you stand.

   Olivia is just one of the many Filipina survivors abroad who by the nature of her country, the culture of her people and God’s great mercy seems unbeatable by Satan’s prevailing system.  “…the ruler of the world is coming and he has no hold on me…” (John 14:28-30)

See also:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Dream

   Sheryl had a dream where she sat on a large square rock under a tree wearing a white robe.  She saw in some distance many people dressed similarly in groups.  Before she could make sense of why she was there and why she was dressed that way, a man walked up to her casually dressed in yellow tee shirt and black pants saying “Miss, isn’t your name Sheryl?”  

   Sheryl looked up at the man standing beside her and saw that he was smiling with beautiful teeth and dimples.  She recognized that it was Enrico, the love of her life she lost to US immigration twenty years ago.  With her eyes on his face she woke up and cried.  When she replayed the dream in her head, some questions came to mind.  What was that place that looked like a park?  Who were all those people dressed in white robes like ghosts  Why was every one dressed in white except Enrico who was wearing colored regular clothes?  Did the dream have a message?  What was the dream trying to tell her?  

   As a catholic she was told from childhood that dead people came back as ghosts dressed in white robe.  Did her white robe in the dream mean she was going to die?  Why was Enrico the only one not in white?  Sheryl told her dreams to friends hoping someone could come up with an idea that would make sense, none could offer any insight.  

   Two years quickly passed.   She found out over the internet that Enrico has died three years prior.  The dream made a bit of sense except that everyone in white like she was, was actually alive and Enrico who was the only one wearing regular clothes was the only one deceased.  

   Still one puzzle remained.  Why would he say “Isn’t your name Sheryl?”  Surely he could not have forgotten her.  His eyes showed recognition.  He must have been teasing her like he used to when they were dating.  

   Twelve years ran like water changing everything in its path.  Sheryl has immigrated to America hoping the travel would dull the pain of losing Enrico to death, a final blow to her undying hope for a reconnection.  

   When the Immigration form asked if she wished to change her name, Sheryl decided to make her pen name she used in her writing as her legal name.  She took the oath for her US citizenship under her new name, Samantha Galvez.  

   The first time Sheryl heard someone called her by her new name she realized what the remaining puzzle in the dream meant.  On the resurrection of the dead Enrico recognized her but had to ask because her tombstone bears the name Samantha Galvez.  "...all those in the memorial tombs will...come out..." (John 5:28-29)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mother Said...

My mother 

   Every daughter who has had interaction with her mother brings into her own family a truck load of information one would not find in Google.  Samples are as follows:

 “When sautéing bitter melon (Ampalaya) you have to smile the whole time to remove the bitter taste.”    Much later in life the daughter learned from a neighbor that soaking the sliced bitter melon in salt and water overnight removes the bitter taste.

   “There is a Jew in the Old Testament named Samuel Bilibeth who was disobedient and was punished by God with an endless life of walking and absolutely no rest.  To this day he is out there walking.  He can’t die.  Wherever he gets tired and trys to sit down an angel would appear to command him – Lakad Samuel lakad! Which means keep walking Samuel!”  The daughter cannot find this in the Bible and she asked every preacher that she met.

   “Do not ever wear fancy or fake jewelry.  The one time that you do all your jewelry pieces will be suspect.  No matter how expensive or how authentic people will think you’re wearing fake.”  The daughter envied her friends with fabulous costume jewelry.  She could only afford small real ones.

   “When you see black ants congregating on the wall the family will receive some money.”  Black ants are common in the Philippines and have not been known to carry any disease.  They don’t bite like the red ones so they are not vigorously exterminated.

   “Do not let rats hear you speaking ill of them or they will chew holes on your socks.  Someone did and rats came to destroy his socks but did not touch the socks of the rest of the family.  We should call them mabait instead (means good or nice in English).”  The daughter did not want to dare the rats.  

   “If you hear a house lizard make clucking sound a letter is coming in the mail.”  The house lizards (butiki) were harmless and small.  Children in the 50’s would catch them and play with them.  They roamed in the ceiling and ate mosquito.  The window/door screens in the modern homes kept the mosquito out and the lizards became extinct.  True enough the post delivered less and less mail with the coming of the internet.  

   “If someone borrows a piece of clothing do not take it back.  Anyone who sees you wearing it will think you’re the one who borrowed.”  

   And the list goes on…

   " not forsake the law of your mother." (Proverbs 6:20)