Monday, December 28, 2015

Loving the Job

   When I was in my 30’s I applied for a teller job at a bank in the Philippines.  I was required a large amount of deposit to qualify.  I could have asked my parents for the money required however, my pride did not allow me.  

   Fast forward, I was 55 years old when I arrived in America with nothing but a resume.  I was surprised that I got hired without any difficulty.  My first job was Admin Assistant in Louisville, Kentucky.  My boss, Judy was a 59 years old American who owned and managed the small realty company.  The minimum wage was $8 hourly but she offered me $12, I didn’t even ask for.  It felt so good to have gotten above minimum wage ‘fresh of the boat’.  With that salary, I bought a car in installments.  It took me an hour and 10 minutes to drive the 60 miles daily from Loretto County where I lived to Louisville, Kentucky.  I enjoyed every minute driving along Bardstown Rd.  I felt comfortable in the all American, all women office.  

   In 2007, the US was at the threshold of the mortgage crisis.  The first to get hit were the realty companies.  We were managing condominium home owners’ associations.  When foreclosures hit our clients’ members everything went south.  Our company closed.  I was devastated. 

   I started the job search the very next day.  The one thing that gave me confidence was the fact that this time I have an update in my resume that says I have been hired in the US.  

   I found a wanted ad in the newspaper, Executive Assistant in a bank.  It said to apply on line.  This I felt I could brave.  I won’t have a real person in front of me.  It would not be too humiliating if I got rejected.  I did the on line application.  It led to an on line test which I must have passed because I got a call from the bank’s Human Resources.  I didn’t think much of it.  I didn’t know that call was already the interview.  The next call told me to come in for an interview with the Executive I would be assisting.  I gave my best answers.  HR called two of the bosses in my resume, one of them in Manila.  I still could not believe I would get a bank job in the US when I couldn’t get one in Manila so I accepted a lower paying, smaller company offer.  After I’ve been working two days, I got a call from the bank’s HR that I got the Executive Assistant job.  I didn’t know what to do till someone told me I can quit the 2-day job since jobs here in the US are ‘at will’, which means they can fire me any minute and I can quit any time too, no advance notice required. 

   Hence the journey of the next four years began, on the seventh floor of a corporate center in 4th St., Louisville, Kentucky.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

More Thrift Tips

   Unless your last name is Trump I bet you could use a little discount on the following items that we spend on every month, i.e. hair color, dry cleaning, soda and once in a rare while, plumbing which could cost a lot.  

   To save on hair streaks or highlight, it would be better to do it yourself by using Revlon Frost & Glow.  Although the box instructions would say mix the entire content, there's no sense in using an entire box for a few strands.  Mix just enough for what you need in any plastic container.  Keep the unmixed left over in the box for future use.  A box allows me five applications on shoulder length hair style.  This brings the cost of one application to a fifth of the box price.  This also goes for root touch up of your regular hair color.  A box of hair color gives me 2 root touch ups to cover gray.  This brings the cost down to half.

   Use Febreze to dry clean coats, hats, seats, etc.  Spray generously (soaking wet) on the inside of leather coat then use furniture polish wipes on the leather.  For fabric or faux fur coats, spray until totally wet inside and out, then hung to dry.  The coat should be good as new when it dries. This should save you the expense of taking the item to the cleaner.  This also works for fabric upholstery.  For delicate fabrics test on a small hidden spot before doing the whole thing.

   If you are one of us who can’t live without soda, then it’s already part of your monthly expenses.  If fluid intake is limited by a medical condition like patients on Dialysis or just to save left over soda without it losing the fizz, invest on a soda can cover from Amazon. That way you can split one can in two drinks or more depending on your preference.  

   Laundry bleach has been known to put holes in fabric but is harmless to plumbing pipes.  If your shower or sink drains are slowing down as if it's getting clogged don't call a plumber just yet.  Try laundry bleach.  As the label says it removes soap scum and grease.  Allow two hours after the drain has been used before pouring down the laundry bleach and give it another two hours before using the drain again.  This might save you costly plumbing work.    

   Keep saving, we can’t all be rich.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Loving the Boss

   Beth got her first job in 1971.  She was given a two hour product knowledge lecture and sample sales pitches.  She was required to dress nicely, wear makeup and do cold canvasing.  She was to sell membership to a discount card.  It looked like a credit card except that it granted no credit.  The card holder got 10% discount on every purchase from associate merchants.  The minimum wage at that time was a whopping Php120. a month, she received Php60. every two weeks, which was perfectly feasible since the jeepney minimum fare was 30 centavos.

   She was 19 but looked 16 because of her petite frame and small face.  She was not even asked for her marital status.  Her boss, Vicky assumed she was single.  She was actually a college dropout, still reeling from a fast track marriage and a quickie divorce Philippine style (no papers to sign, just a simple verbal agreement between the two parties).  The job may seem insignificant and the pay paltry but companies were not hiring teens with no employment record before food chains like McDonald's arrived.  

   Beth looked so young and innocent so that boss Vicky and her office mates warned each other that a kid is present when making jokes and conversation with sexual content.  Until one day Beth blurted out how it can be done sitting on the toilet sink.  The ladies all looked at each other and burst out laughing.  From there on Vicky and Beth hit it off.  It turned out Vicky was also separated.  She showed Beth her condo where she lived alone.  They talked about men mostly.  After a year Beth found a new ‘husband’ and quit her job.  They never saw each other again.  Beth never forgot Vicky.

   Beth's second 'marriage' went south after three years.  She got a job as a saleslady at a photo finishing service and camera sales store.   That was before cameras went digital.  She had a bad crush on her boss but she wasn’t his type.  He was dating another saleslady, the one who danced the Hula during the office party.  The Philippines did not have sexual harassment law.  Beth left the company after 18 months.

   Her third job was with a trade magazine as Media Sales Representative.  It was a small operation.  The office was on the ground floor of her boss’ home.  The copies were given away free.  They printed just enough copies to be visible then claimed an exaggerated amount of circulation to advertising clients to justify the advertising cost.  It was a rip-off but her boss was a nice guy.  However shady, this job got Beth her foot on the door of the advertising industry.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Grandma (Lola) Eugenia

   My mother didn’t go out of the house much but she took me to visit my great grandmother Eugenia every so often.  We used to bring her Chinese food from a popular panciteria.  And my mom always said it was amazing how Lola Genia, as we called her, (Lola means grandmother) could eat heartily at her age.  At 89 years old, Lola Genia lived alone in her big house in Imus, Cavite.  Her husband died before I was born.  She refused to live with anyone of her four children.  She owned a sizable rice field and received income from it.  Now, that’s an independent woman.

Battle of Imus Monument
   Lola Genia was born in 1873.  She first witnessed the ravages of war in Cavite when she was 19 years old. The Philippine Revolution against Spain was launched in 1892.    “The Battle of Imus, or the Siege of Imus, was the first big battle of the Philippine revolution against the Spanish colonial government in the province of Cavite…The resulting decisive victory for the Filipino revolutionaries in Imus very much alarmed the Spanish government in the country. Following the conflict, they attempted to subdue the revolutionaries in Cavite province with the twin battles in Binakayan and Dalahican weeks after the battle in Imus.”

   She was 68 years old when World War II commenced in Europe in 1939.  By this time, her children have all married.  She built an underground air raid shelter  beneath the floor which was elevated four feet from the ground.  “Japan launched a surprise attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Initial aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops both north and south of Manila.” (U.S. Library of Congress)  By the time the war reached the Philippines, Lola Genia had the air raid shelter ready to protect her children, who all came back for safety and stayed till the end of the war.  Now, that is called foresight. 
Sample of Air Raid Shelter

   My parent’s, mine and the succeeding generations owe our lives to our matriarch, Lola Genia.  Her rice field was handed down and liquidated to benefit all three generations of heirs, mine included.  

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Monday, November 30, 2015

A Message to The Gunman

   The old Salawikain (proverb) “Pagkahaba-haba man ng prosisyon sa simbahan din ang tuloy,” is listed to mean “Sa tinagal-tagal man ng samahan ng magkasintahan, sa bandang huli ay humahantong din ito sa kasalan.”  

   In English, the proverb says “no matter how long the procession it always ends in church.”  The listed meaning in English says “no matter how long the engagement, it ends in a wedding.”  Most 'cultural' proverbs (not found in the Bible) are debatable.  Other cultures would contest one as erroneous or adapt, assigning to it an entirely different meaning.  Besides engagements don’t always end at the altar.

   My mother often quoted the above proverb.  However, she had her own interpretation which is unlisted in Google and probably unheard by other generation of Filipinos.  My mother was born in 1928, half a century prior to the Philippine marriage annulment law enacted in 1987.   She was raised to be a one man woman.  In her world, the above proverb meant, and I quote her, “no matter how many mistresses a man should have (since only men were allowed by culture to have an affair outside of marriage) at the near end of his life, he will return to his first wife.”  She usually gave real life examples to make her point, like a man left his first wife as a young man to be with other women, then came back home when he got old and broke, so wife no.1 cared for him until he died.

   When I mentioned my mother’s version to my daughter who was born in 1980, she said it’s wrong.  She quoted to me the Google interpretation.  Brainwashing from birth tends to stick for life.  I still can’t shake what my mother taught me.  Here’s my own real life example to corroborate my mother’s proverb.

   Becky and the Gunman married at 17/18 years old and separated when they were 20/21.  They are now both in their mid 60’s, the ripe age for my mother’s proverb.  In the spirit of Aldub Dubsmash here’s a song that the Gunman could have sang had it been composed in 1971.  
   At this point in her life Becky has asked me to put out there a hidden message enclosed in the song below that only the Gunman himself would catch.  This proves, once more, my mother’s version of the Salawikain, that spouses remember No.1 in the end.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ethnically Ambiguous

   Filipinos in multiracial marriages produced gorgeous ethnically ambiguous  children called mestizos or for short tisoys (male) and tisays (female).  These children are taller and have a complexion that range from light brown to many shades of white.  Some are born with aquiline nose called 'tukang loro' (parot’s beak) or the Caucasian nose called leptorrhine, the long and narrow which has become the model for Rhinoplasty, in common terms: a nose job.

Vanessa Minnillo from
   The foreign genes whether it be Chinese, European or American diluted with Filipino blood gets handed down from generation to generation producing unique physical traits as it goes along.  Most famous of these are Lou Diamond Phillips, Rob Schneider, Bruno Mars, Enrique Iglesias, Phoebe Cates, Vanessa Minnillo, Nicole (Valiente) Scherzinger, etc.

   This brings us to Richard Reyes Faulkerson, Jr., a.k.a. Alden Richards, our current Twitter trending, tisoy heartthrob.  In 2014, Richards became an ambassador for Habitat for Humanity Philippines, building homes alongside other volunteers and families involved with the non-profit organization.  In 2015, Richards became a part of the Philippines' longest running noontime variety show, Eat Bulaga!  His popularity skyrocketed due to an accidental love team between him and his Eat Bulaga! co-host Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza.  The love team is called Aldub and can be found all over YouTube.

   As for biracial mental assets, geniuses like Diosdado P. Banatao, a Filipino American “invented in the late 1980s the world's first ever single-chip graphics accelerator”.  His inventions revolutionized the personal computer we all can’t live without today.  “His first contribution to the computer industry was the Ethernet controller chip… Before that, computer networks operated on big, cumbersome systems that required a lot of space.”

   A Filipino inventor, Roberto Del Rosario patented the Sing Along System in 1975 which has evolved into the now known as Videoke.  Robert Del Rosario is the head of Trebel Music Corporation.  

   Abelardo Aguilar, a Filipino physician, co-created the drug Erythromycin (Ilosone®) in 1949. He sent his employer, Eli Lilly Co., samples of an antibiotic isolated from a soil that Aguilar collected in his home province of Iloilo, in central Philippines.  The antibiotic was named “Ilosone” in honor of Iloilo province where the soil was originally collected.  It gave an alternative medicine to patients with allergic reactions to penicillin.  Erythromycin treats bacterial infections, respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infection, ear and skin infections, gonorrhea, syphilis, rheumatic fever, whooping cough and diptheria.  Erythromycin has earned Eli Lilly billions of dollars, but Aguilar or the Philippine government received no royalty.  Aguilar was allegedly forced to resign by the company’s district manager or he'd get fired for various reasons.  In 1993, Aguilar died, after 40 years of struggling in vain for recognition. 

See also: 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Being a Girl

   I am an only girl among my siblings.  I was tomboyish as a child, awkward in my early teens, then kind of wild and radical in my late teens.  From there I jumped into being a working mom who did all the chores at home and some.  

   I know how to mix cement with a shovel and actually have put up a wall of hollow blocks with steel reinforcement using a steel saw (just saw around the edge then bend to break).  I laid out red bricks on the dining room wall and the facade of our home using old kitchen tools like an old butter knife to spread cement on the brick before laying on the wall.  I have installed wallpaper, replaced spark plugs on a car and changed a flat tire.  I have maintained car battery with distilled water and radiator with coolant.  (The Philippine car batteries are usually not ‘maintenance free’ because that kind is cheaper and lasts longer if maintained right.  Radiators need constant monitoring and coolant addition because of the climate in the Philippines.)  I have used a wrench to change faucets.  I have painted concrete walls and metal garden furniture.  I am what is called a handywoman.  

   Although I am proud of being able to do a ‘man’s job’ I equally enjoy ‘girl talks’, ‘girl things’ and dressing up.  I like romantic comedies, Miss Piggy, ruffles and lace.

   While working at GA Manila, a survey was circulated.  The question was “What would you want to be called, a lady or a woman?”  My answer follows:

   “Girl!  A lady has sophistication, a woman has substance but a girl has fun!”

   I have ‘emergency make-up’ in my car and a travel toothbrush set in my purse.  I have hats for different seasons (hat helps to warm in winter and protects from sunburn in the summer).  I don’t accumulate shoes like the rich and famous but I insists on wearing stiletto heels at 63 even if it means walking slow like ailing.  I love wearing a coat in America and a swimsuit in the Philippines.  I don’t selfie but I censor my photos.  Only the good ones should be out there.  

   In a medical office, the doctor said I look 10 years younger than my age.  Then he asked how I manage to maintain my shape.  That was enough for me.  I asked my daughter on the way home, “Is it just me or did that 40 something white doctor seemed to like me?” 

   “It’s just you mom,” she replied with a grin.

   Hey, I still believe I can be a girl past 60.

See also:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Cost of Being Filipino Abroad

   When I arrived in the US I tried all the American fruits that were not available in the Philippines.  We have our Baguio strawberries and China grapes and apples so let’s exclude those. I liked cherry and grapefruit because it’s similar to suha.  The berries (blueberry, blackberry and raspberry) I liked a little.  After a few months I’ve had enough of them.  I started craving for the Philippine fruits.  Here’s what I found.  

   I have no idea how much atis cost in Manila right now but here in California three pieces of atis cost $4.99+tax=5.15 X current dollar rate of 46.79 is approximately PHP240.00.  


   I liked none of the American vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, etc. except for lettuce.  I go to the Asian store to get talong even if there are US and Mexican eggplants available in the supermarkets.  Talong cost $1.49 plus tax equals PHP77.20 a pound X 2.20 = PHP169.84 actual cost per kilo.

   Kangkong costs $$1.95 plus tax equals PHP100.59 a pound X 2.20 = PHP221.30 actual cost per kilo.

   Halaan (Manila Clam) cost $4.99 plus tax is approximately PHP240.00 per pound X 2.20 = actual cost per kilo PHP528.00.  That price include the scale heavy shells.  That makes the halaan swam soup outrageous expensive!

   American salt is manufactured salt.  The Philippine salt is sea salt which is better for health reasons.  Sea salt from Pangasinan cost $1.99 plus tax = PHP101.00 a pound X 2.20 actual cost per kilo is PHP222.20.


   Headless shrimp is available in American supermarkets.  However, I find the shrimp heads taste better than the most expensive lobster.  Shrimp with head cost between $6.99 to 8.99 a pound, depending on the size.  That’s not even sugpo, that’s just shrimp.  It would cost about $7.50 to 9.50 (PHP444.00) with tax = actual cost per kilo is PHP977.91  

   There are different kinds of vinegar here such as Red Wine vinegar, Cider vinegar, Balsamic, etc.  However, for reasons I can’t explain, I still feel safer with the Philippine Datu Puti which cost $.99 plus tax would be approximately $1.10=PHP51.46.

   I charge all these to the cost of being a Filipino abroad.

Monday, October 26, 2015

In Fitness and in Health

   When I was thirty five years old I was diagnosed to be borderline diabetic.  I was prescribed a pill.  I researched the condition and found out I didn’t need the medicine.  I was not diabetic just on the verge of being one.  What I needed to do was cut down on rice to a cup per meal and exercise.  

   It was mid 80’s and the gym business was booming in Las Pinas.  Membership in a gym has become a status symbol.  It meant you have money to spare.  The biggest market was the bored housewives from the gated communities.  I walked into one.  

   I was not over the weight limit for my height so the instructor asked me which part of my body I wanted to build up and which I wanted to trim down.  I replied I wanted to keep my upper arms, legs, thighs and tummy tight.  He took me to the equipment that would help me accomplish my goals.  He taught me how to use them.  I needed to do only sixty counts each exercise.  The warm up was sit-ups which flattened my tummy and twists with a stick which trimmed my waist.
 I did three minutes on stationary bike to strengthen the heart, something my Cardiologist later confirmed. He gave me some weight exercises that would take the fat off my back, straighten my posture, and build up what little boobs I got.  Another weight equipment was for my legs and thighs.  

   I settled down to a routine of three hours, three times a week.  I was not overweight so I didn’t really lose any but I got tight and got more than I bargained for.  My boobs seemed to have increased in size.  My legs and thighs got better shape.  After six months I quit the gym.  I bought a pair of dumbbells and leg weights that could simulate at home what the gym equipment were doing for me.  I got a disc for waist twist.

 Instead of three hours, three times a week I shortened it to 60 counts each exercise, in all, a total of 10 minutes a day.  Ten minutes a day is not too much to ask.  I continued the routine at home for 30 years.  

   Now I'm in my 60’s.  I am still tight and fit.  I have retained my weight and figure.  What’s more I am still not diabetic.  That’s one border I haven’t crossed.  Those 3 months of gym membership was sure worth every penny.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

If You are Out of...

   If you’re out of mayonnaise or allergic to mayo because of the egg content use Ranch or Caesar salad dressing on tuna, BLT or any deli sandwich.  I am not a fan of mayo myself.  I find the salad dressing gives more flavor to the vegetables in the sandwich.  

   If you have ants in the house but you’re out of insecticides, try wiping the places where ants pass with Johnson Floor Wax, Pledge, Lysol wipes or spray.  Even glass cleaner spray would work.  All of those don’t have the harsh chemicals in insecticides that could be harmful to humans.

   Fresh tomatoes can't be stored in the fridge too long.  If you see your tomatoes are about to spoil wash, chop and freeze in a plastic container. If you are out of fresh tomatoes but get canned tomato from Brown Bag you can use the canned tomato for Filipino food like ginisa or sinigang or sarciado.  Put what’s left in the can in a plastic container and keep in the freezer for future use.  

   If you are out of bread crumbs for fried chicken and you got potato chips laying around, enfold a few pieces in wax paper or paper towel.  Crush the chips with rolling pin or any glass jar.  The chips don’t have to be finely ground.  It will add flavor to the chicken.

   If you’re out of croutons but have a loaf of bread that’s about to spoil, make your own croutons with left over bread.  Mince some garlic and put them in a microwaveable dish with butter, let the butter boil.  Then put the garlic butter in bread and toast the bread in a toaster or a stove top oven.  Cut the toasted garlic bread in the size of regular croutons.  Keep the left over croutons in a Ziploc bag, with paper towel to absorb moisture, for future use.  The bread will stay a lot longer because it has been cooked dry.  

See also:

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Smart Addict

   The addictive personality is not easy to detect.  Addiction is usually hidden, defended as normal, or justified as mere recreation.  Becky has an addictive personality but she’s too stingy to gamble and too smart to do drugs.  

   She was addicted to cola drinks from the time she was weaned from infant formula.  When the diet soda arrived, she switched to diet because she cared about her figure.  She was addicted to food but she worked out relentlessly, again because she cared about how she looked in a swimsuit.  She was a workaholic but again too stingy to be a shopaholic. 

   When she reached 17, she started drinking beer socially.  She couldn’t drink alone and she didn’t have money to buy beer for the whole gang so alcohol was limited.  (The Philippines is not as strict as the US about serving beer to a minor.) 

   Years later, she got done with school and got a job.  She was able to afford drinking.  She did the Makati bars with friends, upgrading from beer to Frozen Margarita, Screw Driver or Stolichnaya and Tonic. 

   When the budget was short she brought a miniature bottle of Rum in her purse, ordered diet coke and poured the rum in her glass while the waiter was not looking.  That’s Rum Coke right there!
Or she brought a miniature bottle of vodka and ordered orange juice.  Then she’s got a concocted Screw Driver.  

   Becky was addicted to boys too but she was too proud to buy one and too feisty to be easy.  Her love affairs were passionate but short.  Now, at middle age, she’s still addictive.  However, the boys have turned into men and to her, thirty is over aged.  Nights out are no longer an option and drinking makes her physically sick.  She’s still into diet soda and keeps the stash under the living room couch, what the fridge can not accommodate.  Being a senior citizen, she has retired.  A workaholic without a job to do is like torture.  It’s too late to turn shopaholic now because without a job there’s no money to splurge with.

   Nowadays, she’s addicted to celebrity love teams and write romance e-books.  They take her back to all the loves she lost along the way.  
See also:

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Filipina Called Yaya Dub

   Leave it to the Filipino to make the most use of technology like no other.  The Philippines was called the text capital of the world as soon as the cellphone providers launched phone texting.  According to Wikipedia “The largest average usage of the service by mobile phone subscribers is in the Philippines...”

   Dubsmash is a video messaging application for iOS and Android where users can choose an audio recording of a famous quote or song from a list and do a lip sync video of themselves.  It was launched in November 19, 2014.  A Filipina, Maine Mendoza earned the title "Queen of Dubsmash" in the Philippines for a compilation of Kris Aquino impersonation that went viral with one million views overnight.  (Coconuts Manila)  

  A few months later, in July, 2015, Eat Bulaga cast Maine Mendoza as Yaya Dub, an old woman’s nanny in the KalyeSerye “Utilizing her Dubsmash popularity, Mendoza only communicates in the series through vocal dubbing and does not actually speak.” (Kalyeserye, Wikipedia)  The ‘Aldub’ loveteam was born when the initially snobbish Yaya Dub broke character when she reacted with obvious personal interest in Alden Richards whom she saw only on the show's live split screen.  Due to public demand, the short segment started to stretch.  It now occupies 40 to 1 hour of the Eat Bulaga  show inspiring the writers to come up with suspenseful daily episodes which include a secret diary stolen, two kidnappings, two interrupted church weddings, one car crash, and an obstacle course for dating between young lovers on the threshold of everybody’s dream romance.  

   The Aldub young lovers’ first meeting in person on September 5, trended in Twitter with 5.8 million rising to 25 million by September 26 where the couple finally dated, earning the right to be portrayed in Cosplay Manila 2015.  The audience reaction to Yaya Dub is phenomenal.  Maine Mendoza has 1.9 million personal followers in Twitter and 1.3 million followers in Instagram

   NEWS BREAK: It has been confirmed that Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza will be in the next Metro Manila Film Festival entry titled My Bebe Love.  If the theaters opened the ticket sale for this upcoming movie today it would pre-sell millions easily.  

   Ground breaking, barrier busting, endearing Maine Mendoza, a.k.a. Yaya Dub is the Filipina now.  Aren’t we all proud of her?  I am.  

See also:
Eat Bulaga Scholarship

Post Script: 
   "AlDub, the perennial Twitter trending topic, has done it again, generating 41 million tweets with their hashtag #AlDubEBTamangPanahon, according to a release from Twitter Monday, October 26."

BBC News: "as Yaya Dub, Ms Mendoza has now become the third fastest-growing celebrity on Twitter, after US singers Taylor Swift and Katy Perry." 

See also: 
The Magic of Kalye Serye 
Eat Bulaga Scholarship 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cord-Cutting with ROKU

   “According to a new survey … data show that the so-called “cord-cutting” phenomenon — where consumers jettison traditional cable and satellite packages in favor of streaming services… Half of respondents said they were satisfied with online streaming options like Netflix and Hulu, while 30 percent said pay TV was too expensive.” (NBC News)  More and more people are cost cutting by cancelling their cable television service.  My family is one of them and it’s good to know we’re not alone.

   When I was in Makati City, Philippines I had a cable TV provider that gave us very bad reception.  We waited a couple of months to see if it will get better before we complained.  When I called for service no one came to do anything.  I had the cable TV cancelled.  When I got to talk to a neighbor ‘standby’ by chance and mentioned my cancellation, the boy offered to reconnect my cable for free, just for friendship’s sake and I won’t have to pay the cable company monthly.  Amazingly the boy did give me cable TV back with absolutely perfect reception, something the cable company was not willing to do for me.  In gratitude I gifted the boy with PHP300, he wasn’t even asking for.

   In Louisville, Kentucky I had Insight cable TV.  Insight gave me basic channels for $20 a month.  Their basic contract came with History, Comedy Central, Discovery, Showtime, Lifetime, no HBO but all local channels, etc.  I was happy with Insight.  Then the company was bought by Time Warner and changed the name to Time Warner Cable.  Now I see the basic cost is $29.99.  

   When I moved to California, I got Xfinity which offered the basic at $49.99.  The basic channels that I got had so many Spanish channels.  I don’t speak Spanish and except HBO, none of the channels mentioned above.  I am guessing the Latino community got all the English channels.  The probable reason for that is so the customer would upgrade from basic to a more expensive contract just to get more channels in their language.

   My daughter and I decided to let the cable TV go since we have ROKU with which we can enjoy YouTube, Reuters news, Amazon Prime, etc.

See also:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Barkada Mentality

   We have friends we love more than others.  We have relatives we love more than our siblings.  These chosen friends and relatives have qualified for a category called barkada.  Here in America there are Filipino communities one can join for a common interest.  Despite the shared belief and goals not all members will be elevated to the level of barkada.  

   The barkada mentality is the theme of movies like Stand By Me, The Hangover, Grown Ups, etc.  Eat Bulaga, a noontime show in the Philippines, uses the word Dabarkads, the flipped version of barkada to refer to their hosts and followers.  

   When I was 10 years old, a very impressionable age, I used to hang out at the corner store with the teens called standbys.  One day another teen came by with fresh bruised face.  The standbys asked him ‘who did it’?  Apparently he was bullied as he passed through another neighborhood.  The standbys said “come on, let’s go back there”.  I was amazed that the standbys were willing to get hurt in a fight not their own.  That’s the barkada mentality.  I was hooked for life.

   How does one become worthy to be called barkada?  If you have any one of these: envy, treachery, back stabbing, meddling, bragging, self-entitlement, seniority, crab mentality, you will be no one’s barkada.  

   Barkadas are cultivated.  Just like a marriage, one works at it to stay compatible.  One must know how to respect the other person’s boundaries as you do your own.  Just because you are friends don't think you can overstep your bounds.  

   Verbal, physical or emotional abuse happen between friends too.  Emotional abuse is often used to manipulate the other person.  Verbal or physical abuse like slapping, pinching or hair pulling could be done in jest.  No kind of abuse is acceptable.  

   The happily married couples I know are those who were barkadas in their youth.  No false pretenses, no exaggerated expectations, those couples knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  They have emotional security in the knowledge that they are on the same side in every twist and turn of life.  Those who have aged together are assured of having a barkada at home when hanging out is no longer an option.  

   I was the only girl in my family, with a father abroad and a mother who mostly stayed in her room, I grew up virtually alone.  However, I had my cousins and neighbors who were my barkadas.  When I got married I raised my children as my barkadas and I expect nothing more than to be treated as one.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Lunchbox

   There is no college course for motherhood.  The profession is passed on from generation to generation shaped by culture, education, religious orientation, financial capacity and social status.  While mothers do their best, each do things differently.  Household management depends on the local norms, individual preference and available resources.  All these affects the lunchbox.

   Mothers with live-in maids could have the lunchbox delivered to the kid’s school at lunch break so that the rice and soup would arrive warm, the fruit fresh and the iced drink cool.  Most mothers just give their child food allowance.  The kid could pick anything they want from the dining hall but the child would have to know how to budget to make the money last for a week.  

   From the late 70’s to the 80’s, I was a working mom.  I didn’t have time to work on the lunchbox.  I made arrangements with the school dining hall management to give my three children credit and signing privileges.  I didn’t have to worry about the cash or lunch delivery.  They ordered what they wanted and signed on a list which I paid monthly.  A credit card would have made things a lot easier but credit cards were not commonly used in the Philippines back then.  

   Now that I have retired, I have the time to do the lunchbox.  My daughter writes down on the board hanging on the fridge door what she wants for lunch for each day of the week.  There are salad days and then there are soup days.  Rice comes with vegies every Friday.  
   I get fruits free from Brown Bag and thanks to YouTube I have learned to be creative with fruit presentation.  I make her flowers made from strawberries or little balls made out of melon then sprinkle with Splenda.  I make her cocktail drinks with fresh squeezed oranges mixed with Fresca (7Up or Sprite) just for the fizz.  Sometimes I use a sachets of Snapple Ice Tea to go with blended (peeled) apple or pear

   I actually have fun doing the lunchbox.  By the way my daughter is now 35 years old.  Motherhood never ends.