Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wood Floors

   There are few places in cold States with wood floors.  Carpet helps to save on heating.  The houses in the Philippines have mostly vinyl, cement or ceramic flooring which are easy to clean and maintain.  

   When my daughter asked me to join her in California I was not so keen on leaving Kentucky.  There at 60, I had a crush on a thirty something absolutely gorgeous medical tech who attended to me three times a week.  He flirted with me first. That started my fall.  To disguise my inappropriate feelings I said I wanted him for a son-in-law.  The thought of not seeing him again felt like fate worse than death.  I believe this is what is called second childhood.

   Then my daughter sent me a photo of the apartment she’s renting if I came to live with her. It had wood floors! I immediately packed to leave behind my last romance.  I have not had wood floor since I was a child.

   As soon as we moved in I worked on making the floor shiny.  I may not have been a perfect wife and mother but I was always a good cleaner.  I did not just clean I detailed.  I tried every product in the market but nothing worked on the daily traffic areas which have lost the natural wood luster.  After a year of trying I decided to go back to an old world solution, the floor wax.  

   Before I opened the can I smelled the wax.  It was so strong it seeped out through the lid.  The floor wax actually repel ants and other insects because of the strong smell.  The scent took me home to a place and time when my Mom used to make me wax the floor and then scrub it shiny with bunot (coconut husk).  Those were the good old days before the floor polisher and vacuum cleaner arrived.  

  Now, 2014, in California, I sweep the floor with walis tambo, wax the floor with Johnson wax and in the absence of bunot, I scrub it with a coarse disposable paper cleaner that is attached to a mop.  My floor got the shine I have been searching for.  Now, if I can go only back to being fifteen again I will not give my Mom a hard time about waxing the floor.

   Here's how I protect my beloved wood floor:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Flaws and All

   The Email Ordered Wife was first published in, in the fall of 2012.  In 2013, I received new materials that should be added.  I edited the book to include them.  The second edition was launched.  

   Recently Derrick, a very sharp young man, read the book and gave me very valuable feedback.  He said the book contained phrases that Americans may be familiar with, which English speaking readers from another country or culture might find out of place or context.  Worse, the phrases could be read as a mistake, like a misspelling of a different word with entirely new meaning.  I reviewed the book from beginning to end and rephrased those that I thought might be misconstrued.

   Derrick also showed me that his downloaded copy did not have the footnotes that should provide the readers necessary information on the cultural and religious beliefs of the characters.  I have removed all the footnotes and inserted some of them into the paragraphs.  I moved some from the footnotes into an Endnote page, following a suggestion of my daughter Dekya, who I must admit is a better writer than me.  She was published at the age of nineteen in the Young Blood column of The Daily Enquirer, a broad sheet daily newspaper in the Philippines.  She was at that time a Bachelor of Communication Arts student at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos.

   A well-meaning Filipino, who has lived most of his life in the United States, suggested that I remove from the book any trace of my Filipino identity.  He said book readers would buy it if they thought it was written by an American.  He could be right.  

   However, I wrote the book with the intent of leaving a legacy that would remain out there long after I have died.  A part of that legacy was meant to provide insight into the character of the author as shaped by the Filipino upbringing, moral principles and religious orientation.  A non-Filipino writer could research data about the Filipina but might fail to bring the character to life and the emotional implication of those data.  

    The Email Ordered Wife may never get on a best seller list nor win a Pulitzer prize but it will always be, however humble, written by a Filipina, flaws and all.  

   I am proud to say I was born and raised in a small city in the south of Manila called Pasay.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Sponge

   It was said that children like sponge absorb the opinions and actions of whoever they associate with.  In this respect most Filipinos are like a sponge.  This is one reason why Filipinos look more westernized than other Asians.  

   Among the country’s leaders only First Lady Imelda Marcos wore the Mestiza gown with pride.  The rest of the women in the country abandoned the national costume for whatever the Americans are wearing.  Granted that the Filipina costume required more fabric which means more expense and global warming
has made the long skirt uncomfortable, other nations continue to wear their similarly fabric intensive costume despite weather condition or foreign influence.  

My Grandmother
   My grandmother wore the kimona (thin fabric on top of a thicker chemise) and saya (long skirt tied by string at the waist) from childhood until she died in the 80’s at the age of 92.  Her journey took her through post Spanish colonization, American occupation and Japanese invasion in World War II.  She went around her days in costume, riding whatever public transportation was available from kalesa to jeepney to tricycles.  It couldn’t have been because she was hiding her figure underneath all the fabric.  She was slim, tall and kept good posture till she died.  It wasn’t the cost of wardrobe makeover either.  For the most part of her life she owned and managed a clothing store in Pasay City market which sold western fashion like jeans and shirts.  It couldn’t have been out of nationalism.  She didn’t care much for politics unless election was around the corner.  Because she looked so out of place I asked her once why she refused to wear the American fashion which her daughters wore, one of whom was my mother.  I didn’t get a valid response.  She just said “I don’t want to.” 

   Now at middle age, I realized my grandmother was simply not the sponge that I have always been.  In grade school I harassed my mom into buying me a ‘torero’, a bull fighter inspired capris (has to be red) that came into fashion in the 50’s.  I wore bell bottoms in the 60’s and bleached my hair blond with hydrogen peroxide in the late 70’s.  Forty years later I moved into an African American community in the US.  I cut my hair short and dyed it black, bought a wig and some hats.  Someone commented I have become a “soul sister”.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Famous Uncles

   The notorious ‘Nardong Putik’ (Nardo, the Dodgy) was a folk hero in the province of Cavite.  He made headlines in the 50’s for stealing from the rich and giving money to the poor.  Newspapers called him ‘the local Robin Hood’.  It was said that crime victims who could not afford the expense of a lawyer or police action came to Nardo to plead their case.  Nardo investigated, prosecuted and executed the wrongdoer according to street justice.  He settled disputes between neighbors.  He threw loan sharks preying on the small businesses in the market out of his county then he lent the market vendors money with little or no interest depending on their capacity to pay.  Three times he was arrested, incarcerated and escaped.  During encounters with government authorities he shot it out and magically got away earning him the name Putik and a legend that he had an amulet which made bullets bounce off his body.  He was killed in an ambush in 1971.  A movie was made of his life.  He was my father’s first cousin, which made him my uncle.  

   Tatay Maring owned a gun and a license to carry it.  He wore the gun on its holster like a jewelry.  During World War II while he was just in his early twenties, he joined the guerrilla forces against the Japanese.  After the war he became a prize fighter.  Before the government provided a Barangay Captain to govern at the community level, he assumed the responsibility of keeping peace and order without pay, protecting the community against criminal activities.  A felon who wanted to take over his neighborhood challenged him to a duel.  Tatay Maring came to the duel site, his opponent did not show up.  His daring acts made him larger than life.  An unknown assailant fought him for his gun and shot him in the head.  He was my mother’s brother, which made him my uncle. 

   These two legendary uncles, who were both gunmen from the 50’s blazed the trail for The Gunman of the 70’s.  Those three men never met but had two things in common.  They fought for the issues of their era and they were all related to me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another Pasay City Kid

   According to Wikipedia, “boys usually complete puberty by ages 16–17”.  In 1965, Marc was fifteen years old.  Like most boys undergoing puberty he developed an overwhelming interest in the opposite sex.  However, he was at the wrong place and time.  The sexual revolution that was setting the US teens on fire had not reached Philippine soil.  He was awkward around girls his age.  Marc had strict parents.  There was no sex education in school.  To get some sexual orientation during that period of transition from the conservative 50’s, Filipino boys had one option.  They went to the professional sex worker. 

   Prostitution was illegal but widely available.  With a corrupt police force, prostitution became a big business.  Every customer was assumed an adult.  Marc was caught by the police on a solicitation entrapment.  Very young offenders usually have parents who would pay the price to get the kid out of jail and the criminal record expunged.  Marc’s father paid but as soon as they got home he locked the boy in his room where he remained locked.  He was not allowed to go to school or church or even out in the porch or in the garden.  A tryst with a hooker that was not even consummated earned him a life sentence in his own room.  

   After ten years of lock up, Marc was able to escape.  He managed to walk out of the house and make it out of the gate into the street.  He was no longer the teen neighbors knew.  He has become a man in his 20’s whom no one recognized.  The years of solitary confinement had driven him stark raving mad.  He grabbed the first person in skirt that passed him.  It took half an hour for his father to catch him and put him back on lock up.  The girl he attacked was rescued unharmed but the whole neighborhood got scared.  In conversations, his neighbors called him crazy, maniac, etc.  

   After that incident, Marc’s family sold their home and moved out of the neighborhood.  No one has heard of what ever happened to the once shy teen and his strict parents.  To this day it is still debatable if the punishment fit the crime. 

 "Look! Sons are an inheritance from Jehovah;

The fruit of the womb is a reward." (Psalms 127:3)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Dollar Exchange Rate To Hate

   Filipinos abroad live with less love, missing family and friends.  As soon as they arrive in another country, they are compelled to send back money and gifts to keep the love of the family they left in the Philippines, or at least be remembered.  How they can still deserve hate with this culturally ingrained attitude must be a marvel of social science.  

   When Edith left Manila, she had in her heart all intentions of preparing for her retirement so she would not be a burden to her children when she could no longer earn a living.  She found a good job in America and managed to qualify for basic social security benefits but the cost of living did not allow for really big savings.  

   In an economy run by credit, she used credit cards to send dollars and fill the Balikbayan boxes she sent to her children in Manila.  She browsed through her children’s Facebook photos.  She could not find anyone wearing something she bought.  She did find similar items just not the ones from her.  When she came home to Manila for a brief vacation she found the gifts that maxed out her credit cards in storage.  

   As per her projection, aging caught up with her, as soon as she got her US citizenship and benefits.  She lost her capacity to work due to a disability.  She cashed out her 401K and sent half of it to one of her children as her last bequest.

   After the 401K money was gone, the monthly social security benefit was barely enough for her to live on independently.  With nothing more to send, she started to get the cold shoulder.  Without any argument from her end, she got hateful messages.  One even unfriended her in Facebook.  Where did all that come from?

   The Americans have the answer: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

   Edith wishes her children well.  Hopefully someday they can go to the Mall of Asia and buy a better mother.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Google It

   In today’s world Google which leads to Wikipedia has become the ‘go to’ for verifying information.  Surprise, surprise!  Wikipedia confirms what the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been saying all along.

"Jehovah" at Exodus 6:3
(1611 King James Version)
   Jehovah’s Witnesses started preaching the name of Jehovah from the 1870’s.  To this date many people who pray to a heavenly father still do not believe that he has a name.  They can't accept that the God of Abraham and Moses, who sent his son to redeem mankind from the wages of sin answers to the name of Jehovah.  According to Wikipedia:

   “Jehovah /dʒɨˈhoʊvə/ is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, which has also been transcribed as "Yehowah" or "Yahweh".  יְהֹוָה appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, in addition to 305 instances of יֱהֹוִה (Jehovih)... 

   Most scholars believe "Jehovah" to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form ... but there is some evidence that it may already have been in use in Late Antiquity (5th century).

Image of Tetragrammaton 
According to a Jewish tradition developed during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the Tetragrammaton is written but not pronounced... It is widely assumed...that the vowels of the substitutes of the name—Adonai (Lord) and Elohim (God)—were inserted by the Masoretes to indicate that these substitutes were to be used.”

   Note that Lord and God are substitutes because they are not names but titles. i.e. Engineer, General, President, etc.  Thus praying to a title would be like mailing a letter without an addressee.  This is why God’s son Jesus gave the explicit instruction to pray to his Father.

 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9–13) 

“Father, hallowed be your name.” (Luke 11:2–4)

   Wikipedia says about the prayer Jesus instructs his listeners to pray in the manner prescribed in the prayer. Taking into account its structure, flow of subject matter and emphases, one interpretation of the Lord's Prayer is as a guideline on how to pray rather than something to be learned and repeated by rote.

   Jesus said in another prayer to his Father in John 17:6 “I have made your name known to them…”  As per the above it’s safe to assume Jesus was referring to the name Jehovah.  But just to be certain check it out on Google and Wikipedia.  

See also:
On Theories

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Dabarkad Miss World Phil.

   Cherie was multitasking when she vaguely heard from the television that the new Miss World Philippines to compete for the Miss World title was from Eat Bulaga.  She knew all the beautiful ladies hosting in the studio but the name she heard was not familiar.  The name she heard was Valerie Weigmann.  She wondered if it could be one of the backup dancers.  

   The next time she heard the name the beauty queen was being interviewed.  She was all dressed up with a crown on her head.  It took Cherie a while to recognize the lady.
    She was used to seeing the girl in jeans and shirt top with her hair in ponytail.  It’s the girl she knew as Val.  The Val who went to all the Barangays with the Juan For All hosts.  She joked around with the rest of her cohosts.  She was so at home among the crowd of sweaty common folks.  There, under the heat of the Philippine noon day sun in the streets of different communities she was just Val.  It was not easy to imagine her as a beauty queen.   She went missing for a while and Cherie assumed being of German descent she must have gone back to Germany.

   Val’s Facebook says she is a print, ramp and commercial model, an entrepreneur who co-owns a restaurant named "bamm".  She may have been all that but the one thing that stands out is her being a part of the Sugod Bahay Dabarkads.  There’s something about being a Dabarkad that touches the heart.  It’s being in the company of people who care about the forgotten majority and actually do something for them.  

   Beauty contests claim that they are all about doing charity.  How many beauty queens have been to the remote barrios and Metro Manila urban poor areas?  Val has seen in person the different dire situations in the communities she has visited.  Whether she wins Miss World or not, Val will always be the beauty queen for the Dabarkads all over the world.


   The beauty queen went back to her humble beginning and rejoined Juan For All segment of Eat Bulaga in an urban poor barangay in Quezon City.  Unprecedented in the history of beauty queens! Despite her German heritage she is truly one of our own.

See also 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Backlash

   In 1965, in Pasay City, Roy, who was an only child was 22 when he started courting Laila, his 14 year old neighbor.  He gave her expensive gifts but she was just not into him.  She thought he was a ‘mama’s boy’. 

   Elenita, a classmate of Laila’s ran away from home and came to live with Laila.  Elenita got to meet Roy and started flirting with him.  Getting tired of the hard to get Laila or maybe to make her jealous and take a second look, Roy started dating Elenita.  One thing led to another and soon enough before Elenita’s mother found out where she was staying, Roy has already gotten her pregnant.  

   Roy’s mother refused to let his son marry Elenita.  Their courtship was too whirlwind for her taste.  She said they should wait till the baby is born.  That should give them time to know each other better.  

   The couple lived together till the baby was due.  When the baby was delivered, before the young mother woke up from the anesthesia, Roy’s mother gave the baby up for adoption.  Elenita was heartbroken.  Roy dumped her soon after.  Laila was right all along.  Roy was a ‘mama’s boy’.  

   Decades went by.  Elenita moved on.  She finished college, married a musician who did gigs all over Asia.  They had 5 children.  When Laila saw her last, Elenita was happy.  

   As for Roy, he found someone his mother approved of.  He married the girl but she had one miscarriage after another.  Finally they split up because she couldn’t give him a child.  Then he went from one woman to another.  None of them could give him a child.  Roy has been alone since his mother died.  Who would have thought the child he gave away so hastily would be the only one he’ll ever have in this life.  

   Some people would call this ‘Karma’.  The Bible has a text that sounds appropriate.  

   “I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, 
    Examining the innermost thoughts, 
    To give to each one according to his ways, 
    According to the fruitage of his works.”                 (Jeremiah 17:10)

   God simply gave Roy his heart’s desire.  As they say "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!”

* Names were changed to protect the guilty.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Facebook Friend

   Life in this century has become so fast faced that there is not enough time to keep up with friends.  We have friends we don’t see or hear from for decades and yet we know that friendship remains just below the surface of our life.  

   We find friendship in the most unexpected places.  Like the officemate we meet at the break room or the people who share our interests and routinely cross our path.  Then there are accidental friends we find along the way like the girl at the bus stop or the doctor who has your welfare at heart.

   In 2004 a new kind of friend was added to our life, the Facebook friend.  As the song says “Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?”  We have friends all over the globe.  We have childhood sweethearts here and there.  How could we tell if anyone still cares?  The friend who ‘like’ our posts is one who cared enough to click that button.  One who wasted valuable time looking at our page, reading our comments, and commenting back must care a lot.  

   Then there is the Facebook friend whom we have never met in person yet shares with us a common place and time like the schoolmate who was not in our circle or a guy from the other side of our beloved Pasay City.  We can now all bunch up into a group page where we reminisce through posts and comments.  With these almost perfect strangers we open our family photos, our thoughts and opinions, our triumphs and tragedies which some of our family don’t know.

   God has given each individual the right to decide.  That right includes whether to accept or ignore a friend request.  The ‘so called friends’ we frequently meet who have ignored our Facebook friend request are probably just that.  

   A new way of ending friendship was devised.  As fast as it was gained it could be thrown out with the ‘unfriend’ button, the most humane form of rejection that has ever been invented.  No fights, no abusive words, a split is just a click away.  

   For the retirees who have a lot of time on their hands, they can find old friends and lovers from 40 years back, look at the photos and make the cyber reconnection.  Thanks to the communication satellite circling the earth that powers the bars on our device. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pasay City Kids

   The community in the vicinity of San Rafael Church located along Park Avenue was a mix of rich and poor.  The children knew early on in which side they belonged as per their parents’ training.  The rich, mostly along Park Avenue, went to private school and kept pretty much to themselves.  The rest of the children went to Jose Rizal Elementary School and played in the street.  

   In the late 50’s there was a little girl named Esther who did not have a sister.  She had baby brothers who were too young to play with.  She played with her cousins and neighborhood little girls her age.  Esther was accident prone by choice.  She used to climb the corner street sign and perch on top of it.  She got her hair on fire playing with candles on All Saints Day.  During a fiesta, the churchyard had ‘Betobeto’, a game played on a table which had images of balls in different numbers.  The Betobeto manager would shake a couple of dice enclosed in a wooden box making clacking noise to heighten the excitement.  Coins were laid on the image as a bet.  When the box was opened the number showing wins double the amount of the bet.  Esther lost all her coins and ran back home to get more.  On her way back to the game a jeepney crossed path with her.  The passengers screamed, the driver jumped off to check on the girl.  She came crawling out from under the jeepney without a scratch and ran back to her Betobeto.  Esther grew up to be a Marketing Manager.

   In the early 70’s ‘standbys’ (street thugs) were hanging around the corner store when they saw Jojo, a 5 year old boy playing around a parked private jeep.  These jeeps have front seats that folded forward instead of recline.  Jojo found a lost kitty on the sidewalk.  He picked up the kitty and laid it on the front seat of the jeep.  The thugs watched in horror as the boy folded the seat over the cat and sat on top till the cat died.  Then the boy took the dead cat, hid it under the seat and walked away to play somewhere else.  When the boy’s mom, Becky stepped out her door the thugs told her what they saw. 

   “You need to save up some bail out money for your kid right there!” the thugs advised the mom.  Becky just smiled.  The boy’s father was a professional hit man.  She did not let the boy play with toy guns.  Jojo grew up to be an Engineer.

   "Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous.  “Honor your father and your mother” is the first command with a promise: “That it may go well with you and you may remain a long time on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Post Script: In 2014, Pasay City kids rock!!!
Photo Courtesy of Mark Calixto

Monday, September 22, 2014

Suicidal Without Depression

   Robin Williams had depression and recently died of suicide.  Freddie James Prinze, Sr. (June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977), Family Feud host Raymond Neil "Ray" Combs, Jr. (April 3, 1956 – June 2, 1996) and Improv/Stand up Richard Jeni (April 14, 1957– March 10, 2007) are a few who have gone the same route before Robin Williams.  They all left a question.  Who makes a comedian laugh when he needs it?  

   Vicky is a Filipina with a hyperactive sense of humor.  She has the wit of a stand up comedian and like one, actually finds satisfaction in making people laugh.  Very few have been privileged to see the dark side she hides behind the bubbly personality.  She has been suicidal from childhood.  She did not even have depression.  How did that happen?

   Vicky’s mother was sickly and her father worked abroad so she was raised by her grandparents.  When her mother got better her grandparents moved to the province leaving her in the care of her mother and a nanny.  For some reason she failed to bond with her mother like she did with her sweet grandfather.  She could not emulate her mother like she did her grandmother who was the strong matriarch of the family.  When her siblings were born, one of them became her mother’s favorite.  

   Vicky felt like she was living with strangers.  At the age of 8 she ingested Mercurochrome, a skin wound medicine popular in the 50’s that grownups told her was poisonous.  She did not die.  She was dragged to a priest to do a Catholic confession.  No one asked her why.  No one tried to look into the mind of a suicidal 8 year old.  

Vicky never again tried to kill herself.  However, she grew up always courting danger.  She dated normal boys but picked a shady character to marry. She bought a car, frequently disco danced all night with 10 orders of Stolichnaya and tonic then drove an hour home.  Sometimes she parked in the middle of the highway with the lights off waiting for a Saulog bus to hit her.  None ever came by till she got tired of waiting and drove on.  A cousin told her about a job in Saipan.  She jumped at the opportunity knowing nothing about the island where she almost got in harm’s way with the natives.  Her father bought her back from that fiasco.

   She went through a divorce.  She lost her children to immigration.  Eventually  she  lost her grandparents and her mother in death.  Through it all she was cheerful and funny, without a tear.  To this day the sense of humor that hid the solitude within remains her cover.  Solitude is not depression.  Depression is a psychological condition.  Solitude is just a lingering disconnection.
   "Even in laughter the heart may feel pain, and rejoicing may end in grief." (Proverbs 14:13)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Educating Mom – Social Media

   The term ‘generation gap’ was coined in the 60’s.  That decade saw the widest divide between two generations.  Music switched from solo artists like Elvis and Neil Sedaka to groups like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc.  Fashion was reinvented to break age old rules on hairstyle killing barbershop business because the men refused to cut their hair.  Hemlines went up from below the knee to showing as much thighs as possible.  While their predecessors were timid and restrained, the youth took to the streets chanting political slogans.  Everything in the 60’s screamed ‘radical change’.

   The gap between the 60’s and the today’s generation however does not scream anything, just a silent sneaking crack that widens every minute.  Silent because homes previously filled with conversation are now preoccupied with internet entertainment, each individual to his own device.  Arguments have moved from verbal to social media, even fights and bullying are conducted on a monitor. 

   Julie, a middle aged mom can still remember how in her teens the home telephone was the way to reach her boyfriend.  If he failed to call in a couple of days she missed him terribly and wondered if he was seeing another girl.  Like most baby boomers she married that boyfriend as soon as it was workably possible. 

   She raised her daughter Tina the best way she knew how.  When she helped the girl with the homework it didn’t quite work.  The data she learned with her education was no longer the data being taught.  The generation crack between them has begun to creep in. 

   When Tina reached her teens Julie worried about her going to dances and dates.  Tina’s dates did not pick her up from home.  She didn’t go to dance parties.  She went to sci-fi conventions instead.  The young girl didn’t wait by the phone like her mother did some 25 years back.  She finished college, got a managerial job and comes home each day, go directly to Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. amazingly happy without a boyfriend. 

   “Mom look the dog is dancing Cha-cha-cha!”

   “Hey look this is funny!  Somebody Twitted…”

   “You got to see this, the elephant is painting art work!”


    Julie’s friends who were her age could not believe her daughter does not have a boy stashed somewhere.  In the previous generation a girl who has no boyfriend to show was probably seeing a married guy.  To the new generation husband and children did not come first on the list.  They came after career, travel, social interest, if they were on the list at all.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Employee Mentality

   The Americans have inventor mentality.  Inventions are done either by an American or by another nationality under the management of an American company.  Invention agents are all over the internet offering assistance in licensing, product development, manufacturing funding and marketing.

    Some inventions came under the initiative of the American government.  “The handy navigating device in nearly every car and Smartphone was also originally developed by the Defense Department in the 1970s to follow the exact locations of nuclear missiles and calculate their proper trajectories.” (

   The Chinese in any country has entrepreneurial mentality.  Almost from birth they are trained to help out in the family business preparing them to manage their own.  Chinese doctors and lawyers put up their own clinic, hospital or law office that they manage.  

   The Filipinos have employee mentality.  They are all over the world working for all nations, adapting to all kinds of climate and terrain for a labor’s wage.  There are Filipino geniuses working in IT or medical field or engineering who are content to be employees till they reach retiring age.  Some aspire for management promotion but employees nonetheless.  

   Every country has a retirement law that sets the age when a person can receive a pension for years of labor.  “Roughly half of the state pension systems used age 65 as the retirement age and half used age 70.  Taking all this into account, the Committee on Economic Security (CES) planners made a rough judgment that age 65 was probably more reasonable than age 70…The studies showed that using age 65 produced a manageable system that could easily be made self-sustaining with only modest levels of payroll taxation.” (
Oveseas Filipino Workers Lane 

   Even the Philippines has a retirement age.  However employee mentality is in the mind.  When the body has all but given up the mind retains the inclination to work, to associate with peers and to receive the wage that is proof of appreciation for a job well done.  The Philippines has an abundance of young efficient intelligent labor that makes employment difficult to find for the middle aged.  The retirees find their way into countries that would hire them.  Some leave behind the country they love to immigrate just so they can enjoy working.  ‘Enjoy working?!’  Is that even possible?  Well maybe someday.  

   “No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isaiah 65:22

See also A Breakout Nation

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mother Said …Part 2

   Olive’s mother, Celina belonged to the generation of Gloria Romero, when women were demure and chaste by tradition.  These were the women who stayed married for life to womanizers “for the sake of the children”.  Olive saw her parents’ marriage unfold before her eyes from her childhood to her teens.  She believed, the reason why there is no divorce in the Philippines is so husbands can keep their wives while they enjoy other women.  

   Olive’s father was not a bad guy, just attractive to women due to his financial level.  Ironically, while women of the era were traditionally virtuous, the men were compelled by the same tradition not to reject women, otherwise their manhood could be questioned.  

   By the time Olive matured and married in 1970, the world has changed with regards to most traditions.  Her father, in his 50’s was still fooling around.  Olive got curious and asked him “When you have other women, do you deprive mom in bed?”

   “Of course not!  No man should ever say no to a woman.  I would do them all, even if there are 10 of them in line!” was her father’s proud reply.

   Then Celina heard from nosy neighbors that Olive was having problems in her own marriage.  It was time for a mother and daughter heart to heart talk.  

   “Don’t live the way I do.  Don’t stay home the way I did.  If you’re not happy LEAVE!  If you need help with the children give them to me.  There’s a big world out there, find your niche.” Celina advised, to Olive’s surprise.

   Olive took her mother’s advice.  She left her first husband and found a new man.  (" I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the grounds of sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery. Matthew 19:9)

   After over two decades her second relationship started to fall apart.   They had been cheating on each other for many years.  But the two decades have mellowed the spunk in Olive.  Her children have married and left.  Celina has died and yet Olive kept hearing what her mother said “If you’re not happy LEAVE!”  

   Olive sold the four bedroom home she had painstakingly acquired and moved out of her unhappy marriage.  She got a job, then moved into a ladies dorm near her office.  If Celina were alive to see her retake control of her life, this is what she would say. 

   “Way to go daughter!  I am proud of you.”

See also

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Wedding

   1969 in Manila, the country was ripe for Martial Law.  In the hub of street mass actions, a wedding was arranged in secret.  The bride and groom wore blue jeans and exchanged bullets instead of rings.  They pledged to fight and die together for Philippine national democracy.  The music was a nationalist song totally devoid of romance.  The bride has romanticized the political struggle like a love affair between her and her country.  That was enough to put her heart into this wedding.  She liked the groom and was proud of him but she was not in love.  However all her flirting has got him in love with her.  She went through the motions of a girl in a whirlwind love affair.  Her emotional coldness was blamed on her youth.  She was seventeen.  How serious can one be at that age?  

   The groom was 18, in a hurry to be a man.  The political struggle and this marriage ought to do it.  He mistook the bride’s lack of tenderness as a result of her being street wise, having grown in a rough edge of Manila.  He thought she was hiding her great love for him to keep her cool façade which was typical of “siga mentality” (street thug mentality).  The bride spoke proudly of the neighborhood toughies she grew up around.  She narrated to him their feats and gang wars.  Being from the province he did not appreciate the city bums.  He grew up in the farm with hard work and no fun.  He hated that those city bums live off their parents and get to be heroes in her eyes.  

   They have not even kissed.  The groom has had little practice kissing in his young life.  The bride has been kissed by her high school boy friend.  She loved the kisses and liked the kisser a lot but for some reason she did not fall in love.  The couple both had no clue how the honeymoon would go.  

   The newlyweds checked into a motel.  The cheapest they can find.  But like any honeymoon it was an exciting journey into the novelty of intimacy.  The bride was a virgin.  She went to bed a child and rose from it a wife.  The groom woke up feeling like he became an action star.  Their future from there on was entirely in God’s hands.

* Names were withheld to protect the guilty.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Best Place to Work in Manila

GA Manila Reception
   In 1998 I found a new job.  GA Manila, a branch of an international interior design firm, allowed me to be creative with Microsoft Project and PowerPoint.  I even enjoyed filing. Not long after, I was promoted to Administrative Manager.

   I loved the company and my officemates.  The cubicles were designed so each one of us can see everybody else.  While we all worked hard, there was always conversation going, teasing and laughter.  Everyone was an open book.  We accepted each other with no pretenses, no defenses necessary.  We swapped lunches like fifth graders.  There was a sound system where employees played their favorite music.  To top that, a flat screen TV with cable was installed in the break room, hanging high off a wall to be visible to everyone so employees don’t miss their favorite show during lunch break.  

Office Overtime Fun
   We didn’t get paid for overtime but on those nights when we needed to work after five, the company provided pizza so projects got done in party mode.  Employees happily stayed till nine or ten without overtime pay.

   The Managing Director, who preferred to be called CDC, treated the employees kindly.  When my daughter needed a computer, I approached CDC in the break room one morning.

   “CDC, my daughter is in college and she needs a computer.  I need a raise to be able to afford the monthly payments.” I said while handing CDC a newspaper ad of a computer.

   “This is not right.  You’ll be paying big interest.  Do you remember the company from where we bought the new flat screen monitors?  Order your computer from them and charge it to the company.  I will give you a raise equivalent to the 24 monthly payments and you pay no interest.”  CDC said after he read the ad.

   “Thank you so much!” I did not think it would be so easy.  I got the raise and the computer interest free.

Company Outing
   Company events were celebrated with dinner, booze and dancing at Hard Rock Café.  Summer trips were overnight at a beach resort with bonfire by the shore, all at company expense.  During the Holiday season, the year end party had raffle prizes like appliances, latest cellphones and wine baskets, etc.  The office closed from December 24 to January 1st, giving everyone a week of paid vacation on top of each individual’s vacation benefit.

   I worked in GA Manila until I left for the US.  Those were the best 8 years of my life.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Eat Bulaga's FHHM - The Equalizer 2

   Cherie has always been slim.  She has a workout routine designed to keep fat off her back.  As well as keep her thighs, upper arms and waistline in shape using leg weights and dumbbells.  Now a senior citizen, she can still wear the skinny jeans or leggings commonly worn by teens.  The figure which she flaunted in a tankini whenever possible also came with another price.  She had to miss bigger bites of goodies that she loved like leche flan, cakes with marshmallow icing, halo-halo, etc.  However she never even tried to join a beauty contest because of her five feet one inch height.  Most contest required at least a height of 5’6. 

   Imagine her surprise upon seeing Eat Bulaga’s FHHM contest.  While other nations’ competitions urged losing weight, others simply overlooked the over weighed, FHHM brought out beautiful plus size ladies out of the wood works.  They now have their talent, wear the makeup, dresses and gowns and speak their minds in the interview portion all in the spotlight televised not only nationwide but via Filipino channel global wide not to mention the history making YouTube clips that could be available to their grandchildren someday.  

   Once again Eat Bulaga has found a way to be The Equalizer, leveling the field between the over praised slim and the overly ignored plus size women.  This contest also highlights the Philippine’s uniqueness in its treatment of women.  Countries all over the world should keep in mind that the women comprise half of their population.  The less disenfranchised women the better it would be for the country because that other half of the population would make a big difference in winning a war, supporting the economy or by just being good mothers affecting the crime rate and the justice system. 

   Eat Bulaga uses the word Dabarkad to mean its regular stars, audience and followers.  Dabarkad is the flipped word for ‘barkada’ which means ‘group buddies’ in English.  Cherie was in her teens when it became a fad to flip words so that parents within hearing distance would not easily catch what the teen was thinking or planning.  Cherie is proud to be a Dabarkad residing in San Francisco.  She loves that Marian Rivera has joined the Dabarkads.  In her eyes Julia is one of the most beautiful women she has seen.  She dreams of seeing Poleng’s wedding to Bosing.   
Julia Clarete
Marian Rivera

  See also: 
  Eat Bulaga - The Nation's Equalizer
  Eat Bulaga Scholarship
  A Dabarkad Miss World Phil.