Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joecar – In Memoriam

   Joecar and Lenny were both members of a student organization.  He was an over staying college student who switched courses a few units from graduating to perpetuate his campus presence so he could continue serving the organization.  He was 26 years old when Lenny was a freshman at 16.  

   Joecar became the protective elder brother Lenny did not have.  She was comfortable with him.  She laughed at his jokes and repeated them like a fan.  He wrote a poem for her titled "Soliloquy of an Aging Revolutionary". She thought it was sweet.  He could tell Lenny was not like some of their friends who have taken class struggle personally, judging and misjudging those they considered as comrades.  He came from old money the activists called Burgis (bourgeoisie).  Some of the student leaders resented Joecar’s jokes making light of political issues. 

   In the wave of tumultuous events the Philippine history calls First Quarter Storm, Lenny and Joecar lost touch.  They both found themselves outside the university, struggling in careers they had not plan on and married to people they met after they dropped out.

   Two decades later martial law was lifted.  Reformed activists reconnected as old friends.  Lenny was 36.  After a meeting she invited some friends to her home including Joecar.  She'll never forget how he sat on her couch looking at her intently like he was saving the moment in his memory.  

   When the Holiday season came Lenny received a greeting card from Joecar that said "what I felt for you back then was real".  Three weeks later she heard that Joecar was hospitalized for high blood pressure and against doctor's orders would sneak out to smoke and drink coffee.  He died within four days of confinement.  

   During Joecar’s wake some of their old friends gave a eulogy.  His ex-wife and children did not show up.  Lenny was inconsolable.  She met Joecar’s mother and was surprised that the old woman knew so much about her.  She realized Joecar loved her since she was 16 till she was 36 years old.  It was another love affair that did not have enough moments to qualify for a happy ending.  Books and movies are full of them.  It makes one wonder why people let go so easily of a love they would find only once in their lifetime.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Daughter's Letter

Below is a letter from a Filipina in the US to her father in the Philippines.

Dear Daddy,

   I hope this letter finds you well.  Daddy, this letter took a long time coming.  Now at 58, I realized how bad a daughter I have been to you and Mommy.  You have always been there for me through it all.  Here are some incidents you may have forgotten. 

   In 1st grade, I broke a neighbor’s windshield with a stone. You paid the guy and never scolded me about the incident.

   In 2nd grade I fought with the maid, she lost her temper and hit me.  Mom loved her because she was efficient and she loved my baby brother.  I did not really want her fired.  You had her packing that same day.  In my heart I appreciated that.

   When I went to vacation with Grandma I stepped on a nail.  My playmates were afraid they would be in trouble so we just tried to patch it up and told no one.  When I came home my foot was too swollen to hide.  You noticed and took me for tetanus shots.  You did not scold me then either.  In fact I can’t remember a time in my entire childhood that you ever scolded me while my brothers got spanked.

   In high school Mom did not give me much money.  You decided to give a more generous allowance directly to me.  I spent them on American magazines.  The magazines ‘Americanized’ half of me wanting to do stuffs American kids did like smoking, drinking and dating.  I wanted to be the bold, strong, liberated and political woman of the 60’s. 

   After I ran away, Mommy said you watched the news daily for anything on me, in case I should need bailing out, hospitalization or burial.  Then I had a miscarriage.  You took me to the hospital and paid the bills.  I don’t remember thanking you but in my heart I appreciated that you let me go without “I told you so”. 

   When I got pregnant again you took us in, all 3 of us including my unemployed husband.  When we split up, you took me and my son back.  It hurt my pride that I kept coming back to you in trouble even if you never rubbed my face in it. 

   You never went to the movies but you and Mom came to my film showing projects.  You seemed proud of me when I built my first home and you helped me finish the back door laundry area.  When I put up the transport business and could not get a franchise you got your friend who owned a fleet to give me one.  I know you did not want me to go to the US but I was still restless at 48.  

   There’s something about isolation in America that matures a Filipino.  I’m sorry I was not the daughter you deserve.  I love you Daddy.  THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.

See also:

Saturday, June 22, 2013


   When in danger, adrenaline, a powerful hormone is released into the blood stream which makes the heart rate increase and blood is rushed into muscles and limbs.  It brings about a phenomenon known as hysterical strength.  The awareness and impulses all intensify and quicken.  Symptoms of adrenaline rush are increased strength, dulled feeling of pain and sharpening of the senses like sight and hearing (a distant sound is amplified as loud and near).  Although studies have found a definite relation between adrenaline and fear, other emotions were found to have no effect on adrenaline.  Without an actual dangerous situation or stressful activity, excess adrenaline in the blood leads to insomnia and anxiety.  

   Paranoia is a thought process characterized by chronic irrational anxiety or fear.  It exhibits perceived persecution or a conspiracy against oneself.  Chronic irrational fear triggers a continuous adrenaline release.  Unutilized adrenaline causes insomnia.  

   Vicky was insomniac and used to see tikbalang on a tree from her bedroom window.  A tikbalang is a big naked man with the face of a horse and sometimes smoke a big cigar.  This could have been diagnosed as paranoia however Filipinos are generally superstitious.  Everyone believed that she might have really seen a tikbalang.  She was suspicious of friend and foe alike but Filipinos are generally cautious.  She assumed that her husband was cheating on her but that was typical of Filipino husbands.  She was never examined for paranoia, insomnia or any kind of mental condition. 

   The sex act makes a person relaxed and peaceful.  Therefore untreated insomniacs need to have sex more than normal.  Vicky’s husband enjoyed her insomnia and her hysterical strength.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Women of Asia

   China had women with bound feet, as a custom, by applying tight binding to the feet of young girls (4-7 years old) to prevent further growth.  Every toe would be broken except for the big toe. Then the foot was wrapped with binding cloth. It was done because men thought it made women more feminine and dainty.  Foot-binding resulted in lifelong disability.  Communism abolished foot binding not out of concern for women but aimed at making them more effective soldiers and laborers.

   India and Pakistan have bride burning should the husband and/or in-laws determine that the dowry was inadequate they set the bride on fire so the husband can remarry and to punish the bride and her family.  Bride burning incidents are sometimes disguised as accidents.  According to an Amnesty International report in 1999, although 1,600 bride burning incidents were reported, only 60 were prosecuted and, of those, only two resulted in convictions.

   Japan has the Geisha, female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as proper ways of serving tea, dancing, casual conversation, classical music, games and sex.  Historically, geisha training begins as early as 9 years old.  They wear 5 different hairdos that mark the stages of their career and spend hours each week at the hairdresser then sleep on holed-pillows to preserve the elaborate styling.  

   The Philippines has Gabriela Silang and Fe Del Mundo.

   Gabriela was the wife of a revolutionary leader, Diego Silang.  She joined him in battle and was his closest adviser.  Following Diego's assassination in 1763, she led his group until she was captured and executed. 

   Fe Del Mundo was the first woman of any nationality to be a student of the Harvard Medical School.  Her research was instrumental to the invention of the incubator for premature babies.  She sold her home to finance The Philippines Children's Medical Center, the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines, inaugurated in 1957, later expanded as The Institute of Maternal and Child Health, the first institution of its kind in Asia.  Fe chose to reside at the second-floor of the hospital itself and as late as 2007 she rose daily to make her rounds in wheelchair at 99 years of age.  She died on August 6, 2011. She was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes Cemetery).

   These are only two Filipinas who lived and died for what they believed.  There are many more unknown and unsung in those islands.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Racism after Jackie Robinson

   In 1969 Nikki was a freshman who, by some misstep of destiny passed a university’s tough entrance exam designed to find radical thinkers.  A newly graduate of a conservative catholic high school, her only award on graduation day was First in Religion.  
University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines was the first college to use the nationalist version of the country’s history.  While universities abroad were fighting for freedom of speech, the UP on the other hand, already had absolute freedom of speech as embodied by The Oblation.  It has arms 

stretched out upward and totally naked except for a leaf over his manhood symbolizing the absence of restraint.  In this setting Nikki learned about the exploitation of man by man, the oppression of the poor and the politics of nations that keep people in their “place”.  She read about the foolish old man who removed a mountain one shovel at a time.  She fought for social justice in the streets of Manila for what she believed was a righteous struggle.

   In 2013, Nikki, by now a senior citizen, was an immigrant living alone in Kentucky, USA where she experienced discrimination of all sorts.  She was mistreated by hospital staffs where she was a patient.  She complained to management about the mistreatment.  She was shunned and made fun of by co-workers.  She filed discrimination charge against her employer. She was constantly judged by her own congregation elders.  She moved to another congregation.

   When Nikki saw the movie 42, the Jackie Robinson story she realized even back in those days when segregation was a law, there were whites in Midwest America who stood up against racism just like Gail, the friend she found at work.  When the movie ended the all-white audience applauded before she did.  There really are color blind white people.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Interesting Bible Trivia

   Below are some interesting details plucked from the Bible:

  Jacob’s wife Rachel was Oriental (Genesis 29:1-9) With Rachel in Jesus’ genealogy, this means Jesus had Oriental genes.

  Samson went to a prostitute before he met Delilah (Judges 16:1) This was a first sign of his weakness for women.

  Delilah was paid 1,100 pieces of silver for Samson’s capture 33 times more than what Judas got for betraying Jesus (Judges 16:5; Matthew 27:3)  Those men knew how to bargain with women.

  Law against tattoo (Leviticus 19:28) It is now big business.

  During Biblical time sleeveless attire was humiliating (Psalms 109:29)  Global warming cut the sleeves off.

  It snowed in King David’s kingdom (2 Samuel 23:20-23)  Movies about David always showed warm climate.

  One of the Judges of Israel, Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters (Judges 12:9) 60 children, he served as Judge for 7 years and then he died.

  Jesus’ advise to policemen and soldiers “Do not harass anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14) It is still applicable today.

  God taught the Israelites woodwork, jewelry manufacturing, tool making and all kinds of craftsmanship (Exodus 31:3-5)  Fresh out of Egypt and they were taught to make jewelry for the ladies.  God sure can read the hearts of women.

The above collection of trivia is in the Bible because God meant it to be in there. (Revelation 22:18-19)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Current Filipino Sayings (Translated In English)

   Below are some current Filipino sayings (might not be as some would remember):

  Ang hindi marunong sumingit mamatay sa inggit.  (He who doesn’t know how to include himself would die of envy.)

  Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahilan.  (If it is wanted there’s a way if not there’s an alibi.)

  Ang dumura sa langit sa mukha ang balik.  (He who ever spits at heaven catches the spit with his own face.)

  Sa taong takot walang mataas na bakod.  (He who is scared can climb any fence.)

  Walang maniniil kung walang magpapaalipin.  (There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.)

  Ang umaayaw ay di nagwawagi at ang nagwawagi ay yumayaman. (A quitter never wins and a winner gets rich.)

  Ang gawa sa pagkabata sira na pag tanda.  (Whatever was made in childhood would be worn out by adulthood.)

  Malakas ang bulong kaysa sigaw.  (A whisper reaches more people than a yell.)

  Kung saan nakahilig doon nabubuwal.  (One falls in the direction he was leaning.)

  Ang pili ng pili napupunta sa bungi.  (The picky woman ends up with a toothless old man.)

  Bato bato sa langit ang tamaan sa kanya talaga yon.  (Stones thrown at the sky should it hit someone it was meant for him.)

  Walang matigas na tinapay sa mainit na kape.  (There is no tough  bread when dunked in hot coffee.)

  Walang tutong sa taong nagugutom.  (There is no left over to someone who has a microwave.)

  Damitan mo man ang matsing, matsing pa rin.  (If you put a monkey in a suit he would still be a monkey.)

Those were old Asian wisdom in the words of the new generation.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On Motherhood

   When my sons were in high school a friend of mine delivered a cute baby boy named Kiko.  To help out the single mom, I borrowed Kiko for weeks at a time often prompting the boy’s mother to ask for him back.  The baby bounced from mom to me and back till the boy became a toddler.  
My 3 children with Kiko in the arms of my husband 

   My two teen sons enjoyed feeding the baby, playing baby games with him.  They rocked him in their arms to put him to sleep like he was their baby brother.  Kiko filled our home with joy.  The whole family enjoyed spending on him. We took him out to play grounds and malls.  Most branches of McDonalds in the Philippines have a play area.  We would order just fries and drinks so Kiko can play there without breaking our budget.  We took him with us on family trips.  When the boy learned to walk our home was customized to make it baby safe.  The under sink drawers were tied shut with strings and anything breakable was moved out of reach.  

   When Kiko’s mother moved we lost our toy son.  As going away present I gave Kiko a copy of My Book of Bible Stories.  The years rolled on.  My sons got married and had babies of their own.  I immigrated to the US.  After 7 years, at 61, I came home to the Philippines for a vacation.  Kiko was there to welcome me.  He’s got a daughter of his own now and works at a call center.  

   Motherhood is defined as the state of being a mother and qualities of a mother.  Pregnancy requires motherhood but motherhood does not require pregnancy.  I will always be Kiko’s second mom and he will always be my third son.  

See also

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gerald Anderson, A Great Filipino Actor

   To someone who has been away from the Philippines for seven years Gerald Anderson hit like a bomb.  I was blown away.  

   Budoy was aired in 2011.  I had a chance to see the whole series recently.  A sister in law recorded and saved every episode in appreciation.   Gerald Anderson was suitably awarded for his portrayal of Budoy.  He was great as a boy with Tourette Syndrome in the Maalala Mo Kaya episode “Lubid” which I had a chance to see today in You Tube where it was uploaded in 2009.  

   I’ve always known MMK to be an emotional experience but Lubid left me crying buckets.  It gave enough information about Tourette but Gerald’s portrayal gave it life.  His Tourette tics were so spontaneous one can actually believe they were involuntary.  His lines sounded heartfelt, his eyes and moves connected with his co-stars making every scene seamless.  

   I am grateful for the technology that allowed me to see Budoy and Lubid years after they were aired.  Gerald Anderson is the best Filipino actor I have seen in my entire life.  And I have seen generations of them from Romeo Vazquez to Robin Padilla to Piolo Pasqual.  Gerald seems incapable of over or under acting like most actors are prone to do.  Not even his devastating good looks can distract the audience from his flawless performance.